23 August 2023

Cooma man charged over alleged child abuse material offences

| Albert McKnight
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A 69-year-old Cooma man has been arrested over alleged child abuse material offences. Photo: AFP.

A Cooma man has been arrested and accused of offences relating to child abuse material after an investigation by the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

The AFP alleges 69-year-old John Benedict Brooks engaged in sexualised conversations online and accessed child abuse material.

Police officers raided his home on 6 June 2023 and seized numerous electronic devices and USBs alleged to contain child abuse material.

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Mr Brooks first appeared in Queanbeyan Local Court the next day, where he was charged with using a carriage service to access and transmit child abuse material, as well as one count of possessing child abuse material.

He faces a maximum of 15 years’ jail under these charges.

He was also charged with contravening requirements of a section 3LA Order, as police allege he failed to provide password access to a USB.

This charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment.

Mr Brooks appeared in Cooma Local Court on Wednesday (23 August), where Magistrate Roger Clisdell granted bail, excused him from appearing in court in person on the next occasion if legally represented and adjourned the matter until 8 November.

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AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Jeremy Staunton said individuals who viewed or possessed child abuse material supported an industry that physically exploited and traumatised children.

“Every time this material is viewed, it perpetuates the cycle of abuse against these children,” he said.

“This is not a victimless crime. The AFP and its partners are relentless in pursuing and prosecuting anyone involved in the harm of children.”

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