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Australian Pedophile Gets 7 Years Prison Sentence for Distributing Child Porn

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On an August morning last year just before 7:00am, detectives from the Australian Federal Police and Northern Territory Police knocked on the door of a unit in an up-market Darwin suburb.

According to court documents, five days earlier US investigators had tipped off senior Australian police officials that the middle-aged man living in that unit could be accessing and sharing child sexual abuse material.

Police seized hard drives on which were a cache of more than 4,000 items of child abuse material, including videos and images of children, some as young as toddlers, being abused.

This month, Mark Friend was sentenced in the Northern Territory Supreme Court to seven years in prison.

During the case, the court heard he had accessed and shared the material with others through online forums including Telegram, Skype, Zoom, Peer-to-Peer and Mega, while sometimes high on methamphetamine.

The court was told that outwardly, Friend had a successful career, having worked in the NT public service and the not-for-profit sector, including as a coordinator for youth and family services in the Department of Health and an executive at Anglicare NT.

Before that, he held senior positions in the Northern Territory civil service including at the Central Australian Health Service, as well as a role at the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre.

But inwardly he was “spiralling” from 2013, or “a man living two lives” as described by his defence lawyer, as he grappled with the trauma of childhood abuse and the break-up of a relationship in 2015 as well as drug use.

Lawyer for the Commonwealth Krista Breckweg said in court that hundreds of individual children were the subject of the cache of child abuse videos and photos.

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Written by L Walker

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