Asperger's child porn offender appeals sentence

BY BRONWYN TORRIE
Last updated 12:14 18/02/2010

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A Palmerston North student suffering from Asperger's syndrome has appealed against a seven-month jail sentence for downloading child pornography, arguing his medical conditions led to an addiction to the images.

Andrew Jonathan Excell, 25, was sentenced on 31 charges of possessing objectionable material in Palmerston North District Court in December.

Thousands of images and hundreds of movies, depicting naked children in sexual acts, were discovered on Excell's laptop, computer and several external hard drives.

The children depicted in the images and movies ranged in age from babies through to adolescent girls, the court was told.

Excell's appeal was heard yesterday at the High Court in Palmerston North in front of Justice Ronald Young.

Lawyer Steve Winter said the situation was "unique" and Excell's medical conditions needed to be taken into consideration.

Excell suffers from Asperger's and Kallmann syndromes and the combination led to his addiction to child pornography, Mr Winter said.

Asperger's caused a tendency to become fixated on one subject and to combat Kallmann syndrome Excell had to inject testosterone because his body could not produce enough naturally.

Mr Winter said Excell, who was a risk to young people, had recognised his behaviour was wrong and wanted to rehabilitate.

"This sets him well aside from the vast majority of people who face these sorts of charges."

Excell was "remarkably frank" and this could lead to hardship in prison, Mr Winter said.

"Whenever he is asked by inmates why he is there he will tell them. It's not going to be positive in terms of rehabilitation or motivation to do so."

Mr Winter suggested a sentence of intensive supervision combined with community work.

Crown prosecutor Shannon Johnston said a punitive sentence was needed to reflect the level of offending.

Release conditions with specific instructions on rehabilitation should also be imposed, Ms Johnston said.

According to British guidelines, which New Zealand used, Excell's degree of offending was more serious than a prominent Manawatu man who was granted permanent name suppression when sentenced earlier this month for downloading objectionable material. He was sentenced to four months' home detention.

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- Manawatu Standard

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