Photos of kids were for 'sexual gratification', court hears

A NORTHERN Rivers man has been released on bail after a court heard he admitted to police he received "sexual gratification" from child abuse material found on his phone.

Solomon Canuto, 29, appeared before Lismore Local Court on Friday over allegations he possessed and disseminated child abuse material and filmed a person without their consent.

In February 2019, NSW Police initiated an investigation after receiving information a man was filming children.

As part of their inquiries, police spoke to Mr Canuto and seized his mobile phone which was examined by the Digital Forensic Investigation Unit.

The NSW Police prosecutor told the court the investigation allegedly found 249 photographs of children in the Northern Rivers community, cartoon images and anime of children in sexual positions and adult pornographic images, including a photo Mr Canuto allegedly photographed himself of a woman without her consent.

"(Police found) 249 photographs of children in our community; while they were clothed, the images were close up of their genital area," the police prosecutor said.

"(Mr Canuto) admitted to police to receiving sexual gratification from those images."

Mr Canuto's solicitor told the court his client had been cooperative with police and since his phone was confiscated in February 2019, he had been "complying with the law".

"He's been fully frank with the police in his interview, he's otherwise been a law-abiding citizen," he said.

"There's no suggestion he's been offending on an ongoing basis since they seized his phone."

Magistrate Jeff Linden granted Mr Canuto's bail on the condition he reports three times a week to Nimbin Police station, resides in Blue Knob, and have no access to an electronic device of any kind that can access the internet or take photographs.

"It is concerning the number of images found particularly those of unsuspecting persons, some 249 images of children," Mr Linden said.

The case has been referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions and will return to Lismore Local Court on July 27.



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