Child porn `researcher' fined

A SELF-STYLED "independent researcher" has been fined after a jury found him guilty of having possessed child exploitation material, including an item in the most serious category.

Disability pensioner Robert Karl Stonjek, 55, of Kings Meadows, had contested the charge in the Launceston Supreme Court this week.

His defence was that the 35 video clips he possessed were for genuine scientific purposes, having watched the clips in order to write a paper about online child exploitation material.

However, the jury yesterday found Stonjek guilty of the offence.

Justice Robert Pearce convicted Stonjek and fined him $5000.

He noted the most serious classification of child exploitation material that Stonjek possessed was a disturbing video clip involving a teenage girl.

Other video clips that Stonjek had included 23 showing explicit acts between children or adults and children, and eight clips depicting children posing erotically.

The Crown had not argued that Stonjek possessed the material for sexual interest or pleasure.

Justice Pearce said Stonjek had no formal academic qualifications and no affiliation with any academic institution.

He said to the extent that Stonjek's paper relied on the child exploitation material in his possession, the paper was the "antithesis" of genuine science.

"His main purpose, he said, was to obtain evidence to disprove that children may be subject to what he referred to as `global sexual arousal' to debunk theories to the contrary peddled by overseas paedophilic groups," Justice Pearce said of Stonjek's defence.

"It consisted of Mr Stonjek's subjective observations of a small sample of images downloaded at random simply by entering search words.

"The data he obtained was completely useless for any genuine scientific purpose.

"His claim that he wanted to do something to prompt an academic response so that further research could be pursued provides no justification for possession of this material."

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