A disgraced former child protection cop found guilty of child grooming has been granted bail while a judge considers his sentence.
A disgraced former child protection cop found guilty of child grooming has been granted bail while a judge considers his sentence.

Cop’s teen grooming was ‘brazen and persistent’

A disgraced police officer who groomed a 15-year-old girl while working in a child protection unit was "brazen and persistent" in his efforts to corrupt the teenager, a court has heard.

Former senior constable Matthew Paul Hockley, 33, had been investigating explicit images that were shared at the teenager's school when he added her on Snapchat and began sending her sexualised messages in 2019.

Hockley faced Brisbane District Court on Friday to be sentenced after being found guilty of grooming a child under 16 to procure engagement in a sexual act and grooming a child under 16 with intent to expose to indecent matter.

Crown prosecutor Judith Geary said that between July and August 2019 the pair exchanged thousands of messages while Hockley was serving senior constable at the Inala child protection and investigation unit.

"His role was to protect children and his offending was a complete breach of that trust in him," Ms Geary said.

"His conduct can only be described as predatory."

During the trial the court was told that Hockley discussed his attraction to "girls calling guys 'Daddy' during sex" and saying the girl's "a-- should be worshipped".

The girl used her mother's iPad to take screenshots of three Snapchat conversations on her phone so as not to alert Hockley, but there was no photographic evidence of the other messages.

Matthew Paul Hockley leaves the Brisbane District Court on Friday. Picture: Annette Dew
Matthew Paul Hockley leaves the Brisbane District Court on Friday. Picture: Annette Dew

Hockley was found guilty of the two charges on Wednesday following an eight-day trial, but was found not guilty of grooming a child under 16 with intent to expose to indecent matter.

Ms Geary told the court that his actions had eroded public confidence in the police force.

The court heard that following publicity of the case, the unit where Hockley had worked had been targeted with online messages and letters left at the office regarding "pedos".

Barrister Matt Black said because of the widely-publicised nature of the offending and his prior employment with Queensland Police Hockley was at a "heightened risk" of harm in prison.

Mr Black argued that Hockley should serve a community-based sentence and because the messages were over a "relatively brief" amount of time and there had been no attempt or plan to meet up with the teenager.

Judge Bernard Porter reserved his decision until Tuesday telling the court "I'm afraid I will have to think about it".

Hockley was granted bail until his sentence.

*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636. 

Originally published as Cop's teen grooming was 'brazen and persistent'