Teacher claims body image led to downloading child abuse material but judge not buying it

FORMER Orange Public School teacher Jarrod Johnson-Smith, 43, was given a 16-month suspended jail sentence in Orange District Court yesterday.

FORMER Orange Public School teacher Jarrod Johnson-Smith, 43, was given a 16-month suspended jail sentence in Orange District Court yesterday.

FORMER Orange Public School teacher Jarrod Johnson-Smith, 43, was given a 16-month suspended jail sentence in Orange District Court on Wednesday, with Judge Colin Charteris saying he did not accept claims he had accessed child abuse material accidently.

At an earlier court appearance Johnson-Smith had pleaded guilty to one charge of using a carriage service to access child sexual abuse material and a second charge of producing, disseminating or possessing child abuse material.

Johnson-Smith, who lives in Cowra, was arrested in September last year while working as a teacher at Orange Public School.

At Wednesday’s sentencing Judge Charteris said while many of the images in Johnson-Smith’s possession were on the lower-end of the range of offences, the penalty had to reflect a need to “rid our nation of this vile trade”.

Judge Charteris said he had taken into account Johnson-Smith’s pleas of guilty at the earliest opportunity and offered him a 25 per cent discount on his sentences.

Judge Charteris said he did not believe Johnson-Smith’s assertion that he had looked at some of the child abuse material accidently and then decided to “have a stickybeak”.

However, the judge accepted evidence the offender had told his probation officer he was upset and angry with his actions and realised he had destroyed his career.

During the trial, the court was told Johnson-Smith had given up any chance of having a wife and children because of his physical appearance and obesity.

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Johnson-Smith’s defence team claimed he had looked at some of the child abuse material containing teenage boys in order to fantasise about what his own body could look like.

However, Judge Charteris said this explanation was unlikely and it was more likely that he had a sexual interest in some of the videos.

When handing down his judgement Judge Charteris said, while he accepted the accused was seeking counselling and was of good character prior to these offences, he had engaged in very serious conduct.

On the first charge of using a carriage service to access child abuse material he was given a nine-month suspended sentence, ordered to pay a $900 bond and given two years probation.

On the second charge he was given a 12-month suspended sentence, ordered to pay a $900 bond and given 12 months probation.

The judge ordered a partial accumulation of the sentence, bringing the total suspended sentence to 16 months.

Johnson-Smith’s laptop and USB stick containing child abuse images were also confiscated.

Johnson-Smith was one of thousands of sex offenders arrested in 94 countries as a result of a Canadian investigation into child abuse images.

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