Treatment order for St Paul’s Bay man jailed over child porn

48-year-old mentally ill man from St Paul’s Bay admits to possession of child pornography, jailed for two years

A 48-year-old mentally ill man from St. Paul’s Bay who admitted to offences relating to the possession of child pornography in October has been jailed for two years whilst also being placed under probation and treatment orders in the hope that they would lead to his rehabilitation.

The man had been arraigned before the Court of Magistrates in October, after a police raid on his home recovered pornographic material depicting underage persons on his computer. The court was told that the man was unemployed and suffered from severe mental illness.

During his arraignment, the man had pleaded guilty to charges relating to the possession of child pornography, consisting of videos of 13 and 14-year-olds in sexual situations.

His legal aid lawyer, Mario Caruana, had requested a pre-sentencing report during that sitting.

In a subsequent sitting in November, the court had heard the man’s probation officer testify about the pre-sentencing report, which cited his psychiatrist and nurse as indicating that the man had an addiction to pornography and suffered from a schizoaffective personality disorder, as well as depression and anxiety.

The man would go through episodes of delusional thinking and lose contact with reality, with the illness also causing drastic mood swings, the court was told.

With regards to his addiction to pornography, the pre-sentencing report stated that the man had raised his issues with an outreach team, saying that he was struggling with the addiction due to his illness and other factors, although he had never mentioned it to his psychiatrist.

The report concluded with a recommendation that he be imprisoned and placed under a treatment order, in view of the fact that a previous suspended sentence had not proven to be an effective deterrent. 

The court observed that in separate proceedings last February, the man had been found guilty of the same offences and handed a two-year sentence, suspended for four years.

Magistrate Victor Axiaq, in his judgment deciding the case, said that after a detailed reading of the report, he was endorsing its recommendations in their entirety. As the accused was pleading guilty to imprisonable offences which had been committed during the operative period of a suspended sentence, the court said it was bound to render that sentence active with immediate effect.

With regards to the other offences, the court said it was choosing to impose a probation order together with a three-year treatment order in the hope that the accused would rehabilitate himself with professional help. The court also recommended that the accused be held at the Forensic Unit of Mount Carmel Hospital.

Inspectors Joseph Busuttil and Dorianne Tabone prosecuted.