‘Repugnant’: Businessman charged over child porn claims
A CAIRNS man has been ordered to stay off social media and not leave the state amid allegations he had paid for dozens of images of child pornography to be sent to him from The Philippines.
Police on Wednesday night raided the home and car of Yorkeys Knob man Andrew John Fenton, 57, where they seized a computer, mobile phone and other electronic devices and allegedly found at least 50 illicit pictures on the mobile phone.
He was granted bail in the Cairns Magistrates Court on Thursday under strict conditions, including a social media ban, and that he surrender his passport and not leave the country or Queensland.
Police had argued for Mr Fenton to be kept behind bars amid concerns that he might try to tip off other members of an alleged child pornography "network" in The Philippines that police were attempting to identify.
Commonwealth prosecutor Dom Wiadrowski told the court that police would allege Mr Fenton had made at least five trips to The Philippines since 2016.
It was further alleged that Mr Fenton had used "contacts" to have images of pre-pubescent and pubescent children, "some involved in sex acts" sent to him via Skype or email.
Some of the chats allegedly found on his phone discussed payments, the court heard.
Mr Fenton, who is general manager of a Cairns property maintenance business and has a cattle farm in Walkamin, is facing two counts of possession of child exploitation material obtained via use of a carriage service.
He has not entered a plea.
Cairns magistrate Terrence Browne said the allegations were "very serious".
"Any right-minded member of the community would find (the allegations) repugnant," he said.
The raid came after a joint investigation by local detectives from the Child Protection and Investigation Unit and the Australian Federal Police.
Mr Wiadrowski told the court that the police investigation was ongoing and it would take at least three months to analyse the seized devices.
He said Mr Fenton "would be in a position to alert his known facilitators".
The court heard Mr Fenton confessed to police during an interview about receiving child porn images from a contact in The Philippines.
Defence solicitor Michael Finch said if he were granted bail, his client would stay off social media as he did not require anything except email for work.
He said Mr Fenton had provided "eager co-operation" to the police and had strong ties to the community, having worked for the same company for 40 years and having lived in Yorkeys for two decades.
He was granted bail and the case was adjourned until September 15.
Originally published as 'Repugnant': Cairns businessman charged over child porn claims