One of a Hervey Bay couple arrested earlier this year on child abuse charges pleaded guilty this week to multiple offences. The Hervey Bay District Court heard that hairdresser Jackson McGill did not possess a ‘keen interest’ in child abuse himself but wanted to boost his sex life with his partner.
When McGill discovered his partner’s collection of images early in their relationship, he neither reported him nor sought help. Instead, he joined in the exchange of child abuse texts and images to help improve their sex life.
McGill’s arrest resulted from the Australian Federal Police’s Operation Arkstone. That investigation saw 20 men arrested for 1297 offences. 23-year-old McGill is the first to face sentencing.
A search of McGill’s home last May revealed 23 child abuse videos on his devices.
Judge David Reid sentenced McGill to 18 months in prison. He will be released in four months and serve two years probation. He must also enter into a recognisance order for $1000, returned after good behaviour for a period of three years.
Adopting a child
Multiple texts sent by McGill to his partner included fantasising about adopting a child to abuse together.
The court heard McGill’s behaviour demonstrated ‘callousness or indifference’ to the suffering of the children depicted in the images.
The defence described McGill as passive and susceptible and said his older partner was a ‘corrupting influence’. McGill’s partner is seven-year older. He will also face child abuse charges.
McGill grew up in Gympie. He later met his partner in Brisbane. They moved to Hervey Bay and McGill worked as a hairdresser there. The Hervey Bay couple bought a house at Eli Waters in January 2020.
McGill split with his partner after the police laid charges against the pair.
Judge Reid said Jackson McGill needed to address his tendency to passiveness in relationships. The judge also noted McGill’s genuine remorse and insight into his offending and described him as a ‘low risk’ of reoffending.
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