Clifford John Byrne, 55, of Mackay faced Mackay Magistrates Court on Wednesday.
Clifford John Byrne, 55, of Mackay faced Mackay Magistrates Court on Wednesday. Facebook

Confessed 'boy lover' breaches sex offender conditions

EXCLUSIVE: A self-confessed "boy lover" living in Mackay convicted of possessing thousands of child pornography images and videos has admitted to his eighth breach of sex offender reporting obligations.

Clifford John Byrne, 55, avoided jail-time when he was sentenced for failing to comply with reporting conditions in Mackay Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

Byrne - whose reporting obligations have now expired - was ordered to pay a $5000 fine, out of a possible maximum penalty of five years jail, or a $37,845 fine.

He was sentenced in Bundaberg Supreme Court in 2012 for possessing 3246 child pornography images and 94 videos.

The court was told at the time the images mostly pictured boys, aged between three and 15, either naked or engaged in sex acts including bondage-type activities, the News Mail in Bundaberg reported

Byrne, who previously described himself as a "boy lover", was also convicted of possessing about 11,000 child pornography images in 2006.

On Wednesday, Magistrate Damien Dwyer said Byrne, a reportable offender under the Child Protection Act, had failed to comply between August 1 and August 31 at East Mackay.

Prosecutor Sergeant Sabine Scott said Byrne had to report every three months to police via phone or online.

"On September 1, 2017, a check of the system was conducted and revealed that the defendant had not reported at any time between August 1 and August 31.

"He therefore had failed to report for his quarterly report in the month of August.

"On November 21 last year officers from the Child Protection Investigation Unit attended on the defendant for the purposes of re-serving a reporting obligation, and speaking to the defendant in regard to failing to report ...

"The defendant stated that he was of the belief that he had complied, but was unable to show any evidence of this. Further checks were conducted which showed there was no evidence to be located that the defendant did report during the month ... "

Sgt Scott added she had been instructed when a reportable person checks in online a receipt would be issued immediately.

"The defendant was cooperative and compliant with police. There were no child associations in Mackay, and he was employed at the time ... ," she said.

Sgt Scott noted seven prior breaches and described Byrne's history as "concerning", adding a penalty focusing on deterrence was needed.

"However, I can also indicate, in fairness to the defendant, he had a reporting period of five years ... and it commenced on February 14, 2013, so he's no longer on the register and there's no outstanding matters," she said.

Defence solicitor Erin Beer, of Legal Aid Queensland, emphasised there was "no outstanding matters".

She said Byrne's history, including most recently in February 2017, was "a concern", but described the failure to report as a "mistake", as opposed to a deliberate attempt to avoid his obligations.

Mr Dwyer, handing down Byrne's sentence, said he would be going to jail if he were still bound by reporting obligations, "but you're finished now".

Byrne was ordered to pay the $5000 fine and walked free from the court.


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