Child porn uncovered at work Christmas party in Ballarat

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File image.

Clarification: Please note this story has been updated since first publication. See Editor’s Note below.

A young Ballarat man has been convicted after his colleagues discovered child pornography on his mobile phone at a work Christmas party.

Brandon Shane Wood was 19 and completing a trade apprenticeship at a Ballarat company in 2016 when he downloaded the material, which included pictures and videos of underage girls being sexually abused.

The Ballarat resident was at his employer’s Christmas party when two men took his phone and clicked on a folder captioned “recently deleted” and saw the child pornography.

Shocked, the two men decided to show a woman, who took photos of the material on her phone and went to Ballarat police station the next day.

Police searched Wood’s Ballarat home on Boxing Day and seized his phone, finding 212 images and 51 movies of child pornography.

He admitted to police he had downloaded the material and was charged with one count of possessing child pornography, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail.

In the County Court in Melbourne this month, Wood formally pleaded guilty before Judge Sue Pullen.

Wood’s defence barrister had pushed for a community corrections order to be imposed, saying her client would be vulnerable in an adult prison, was remorseful for his actions and was engaging in rehabilitation with a psychologist.

In sentencing, Judge Pullen told Wood "the facts in this case are most serious”.

"You said it was not until you spoke to police and received feedback from (a psychologist) that you appreciated that the persons depicted in the child pornography images and videos had been subjected to sexual abuse in the production of that material," she said.

Wood was convicted and placed on a three-year community corrections order.

He will also be placed on the Sex Offenders Register for eight years and must complete 250 hours of unpaid community work.

Judge Pullen told Wood he would have been sent to jail for four years had he pleaded not guilty.

Editor’s Note:  Brandon Shane Wood, 19, the offender in this story, is not the same person as Brandon Michael Wood, 19.

Brandon Michael Wood completed a fitter and turners apprenticeship in Ballarat but does not reside in the city and is wholly unconnected to this court proceeding. The Courier apologises for any confusion or hurt this coincidence may have caused.