Child porn videos for research, court told

A SELF-STYLED "independent researcher" from Kings Meadows downloaded child pornography to assist his study of deviant sexual behaviour, Launceston's Supreme Court heard yesterday.

Robert Karl Yohan Stonjek, 55, has pleaded not guilty to possessing 35 videos of child exploitation material on the basis he had a lawful excuse.

In Tasmania it is not a crime to have child pornography if it's for a genuine child protection, scientific, medical, legal, artistic or public benefit purpose.

Police discovered the videos on his external hard drive during a search of his home in November 2011.

They feature females - ranging from children up to "young females" - with mainly men engaged in a variety of sex acts, including a simulated "kidnap and rape" scene.

Mr Stonjek agrees the videos are child exploitation material.

In a police interview played to the jury Mr Stonjek gave a list of mainly international professors who he said would verify he was an independent researcher.

He also provided a paper on "downloaded paedophilic material" which he had submitted for peer review with an academic journal.

"You can see it's not amateurish and not written up to get out of a charge," he said.

The paper was later rejected by the Springer journal.

During the interview Mr Stonjek said he had no formal qualifications, was not conducing the research through a university, had not sought exemption under the law or been through an ethics process.

However, he said he was a member of the world's largest internet forum regarding evolutionary psychology and one of his papers on consciousness was being read at a conference in Norway.

When asked if he was sexually aroused by the videos, Mr Stonjek said "not even slightly, in fact I find them disgusting."

A professor from a German university contacted by police said Mr Stonjek's papers were "erudite" for a "so-called amateur" and it was unsurprising he was accessing child pornography for research purposes, the court heard.

The accused told the court he'd suffered social phobia and anxiety which was so severe that he'd dropped out of matriculation college.

This prevented him from getting a formal education, he told defence counsel Katie Edwards.

"I would have loved to but mental illness robs you of a lot," he said. Instead he said he went about educating himself.

The court heard he had about 500,000 books and texts on his computer and moderated several online psychology forums.

Mr Stonjek said there was a group in the US lobbying to remove the minimum age of consent, which he thought was outrageous.

"Last month they held a protest March," Mr Stonjek half- shouted while almost leaning out of the witness box. He said his research aimed to show children were not sexual beings.

Crown prosecutor John Ransom will cross-examine the accused today.

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