IN COURT: Peter William Hansell faced Dalby District Court on February 10, 2021. Picture: File
IN COURT: Peter William Hansell faced Dalby District Court on February 10, 2021. Picture: File

Former Darling Downs business leader in court over child porn

A retired Darling Downs business leader was condemned in court for his "dedication" to collecting child exploitation material over two decades and financially supporting a black market that thrives on children's misery.

The Dalby District Court on Tuesday, February 10 heard when police swooped in on retired Agribusiness bank manager Peter William Hansell's home on January 12, 2020, officers uncovered 139 category one child exploitation files.

Crown prosecutor Matthew Le Grand told the court the files on Hansell's computer contained varying amounts of images and videos of children either naked, engaging sexual acts with adults, or with exposed genitalia.

The court heard when Hansell was interviewed by police, the retired bank manager said he had been collecting the material for more than 20 years, with Mr Le Grand noting it spoke to his level of "dedication" to it.

The court heard Hansell had used an online financial account to purchase the child exploitation material on 25 occasions, however there were no allegations of the files being shared.

Mr Le Grand told the court of the man's willingness to pay for the material, contributing to an "illicit industry that profits from the misery of children".

"It's not a victimless crime," Mr Le Grand said.


Defence barrister Scott Lynch said the defendant had sought counselling immediately following his arrest, tendering a counselling report.

He told the court the remainder of files found on his computer were videos of trains, and a trip to Hawaii.

The court heard Hansell had been a retired agribusiness manager at one of the four "big banks" for 42 years, managing a portfolio of $40 million fluctuating "from time to time" until he started suffering from ill health.

Judge Catherine Muir accepted Hansell made frank admissions to police about collecting the category one material over a 20 year period, stating he had been charged with an "extremely serious offence".

"Category one means material depicting real pre-pubescent children under 13 years of age showing sexual activity, involving a child or focusing on the genitalia of a child," Judge Muir said.

"Individuals such as you go online and you insist on maintaining this market.

"The reality is these are real children who are being exploited to make this footage.

"It's a deplorable market and the videos and photos in this case are quite sickening."

She however cited Hansell's steps towards rehabilitation, his medical issues, the "reasonably low number" of files discovered, and his level of co-operation when handing down his sentencing.

Hansell pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, suspended for three years.

A conviction was recorded.



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