Father caught with horrific child sex images and videos
A FAR North father caught with thousands of child porn images and 59 videos including a distressing clip that showed a man horrifically abusing his sleeping eight-year-old daughter has avoided jail.
Craig Sidney Clarke, who has never spent a day in jail, had photos and videos in the worst categories of child exploitation material.
Some of the content found on his devices was detailed today in the Cairns District Court, but most of it is too confronting to publish.
More than half the videos involved actual sex between adults and children as young as 11 and eight.
One image showed a young girl with a collar around her neck and a chain attached, while a video showed a child bound and gagged.
"There are serious examples in some of the worst categories," Emily Coley, for Crown Prosecutions, said.
In total there were 4295 images, with the vast majority in the least serious category.
Ms Coley said Clarke told police he had shared two files with another person over Twitter.
The then 34-year-old's disgraceful behaviour was uncovered by Taskforce Argos officers in September 2017 and resulted in the end of nine-year marriage.
The court heard that he had been using a file sharing site that allowed others to download material.
Clarke pleaded guilty to distributing, accessing and possessing child exploitation material between June and September in 2017 at Stoters Hill, west of Innisfail.
Ms Coley said this type of crime was extremely prevalent within the community and argued that a jail term with actual custody should be considered.
However, defence barrister Peter Feeney said his client had been extremely cooperative with police, made full admissions, entered an early plea and had no history.
Mr Feeney said Clarke, who now lived at Atherton, was also seeking professional treatment, including medication, for his offending, which "appears to be almost an addiction".
The court heard he tried to treat himself including throwing computers away and destroying tablets.
"The disgust of what he was doing overcame him," Mr Feeney said.
"He accepts the dreadful thing he's done.
"It's reduced him to quite a wretched state… after he was arrested."
Judge Dean Morzone QC described Clarke's immediate police confession as a "need to unleash the burden so you could unleash that evil behaviour… so it no longer had a hold on you" and labelled him a low risk of reoffending.
Judge Morzone weighed up all the factors and handed down a wholly suspended two-year jail term allowing Clarke to walk free from the courthouse.
Clarke was also placed on two years' probation and a two-year $1000 good behaviour bond.
Convictions were recorded.