Paul Wight has been sentenced to three years in jail.
Paul Wight has been sentenced to three years in jail. Ross Irby

Ex-teacher, gymnastics coach jailed for 42K child porn files

A FORMER primary school teacher has been convicted and sentenced to three years in prison after a police taskforce caught him sharing child porn images and videos of infants and pre-pubescent children on the dark web.

The Bundaberg District Court yesterday heard Paul Wight had worked with children all his adult life and was the holder of a blue card and yellow card when police barged in on him handling the disturbing files in 2016.

The 54-year-old is also a former Year 4 teacher and PCYC gymnastics coach, and was employed as a private tutor of two children at the time of offending between 2015 and 2016.

During yesterday's criminal proceedings, Wight pleaded guilty to all nine charges, including using a carriage service to access and make available child pornography material, and possessing the illegal files.

The charges arose after taskforce Argos investigators discovered Wight sharing 638 images of pre-pubescent children on the beach, which prompted a surprise search warrant at his house some three weeks later.

A further 39,956 unique images and 1973 unique videos were found after police seized the man's laptop, three external hard drives and six CDs from his bedroom.

Despite Wight providing authorities his log-in details to several child porn websites, his cooperation revealed how actively he commented on content download speeds and quality.

Crown prosecutor Elizabeth Kelso told Judge Leanne Clare there was evidence Wight had provided passwords to others, advertised when he'd improved upload speeds on videos and shared comments of his views of the contents of certain files.

On one occasion, on a file called "Hot four-year-olds", Wight commented "a delightfully cute little girl".

Another comment he authored read, "Wow, is there more of her?" on a video file of an infant girl being raped.

There was also a record of Wight thanking people for providing him access to certain images, which Ms Kelso argued promoted that particular user's position in the online community.

The defence said Wight was a husband, family man and father to adult sons and had previously suffered symptoms of anxiety and depression, for which he used medication.

A psychological report handed up to the bench in court recorded Wight as having a socially awkard personality. It was also pointed out Wight had no criminal history.

But Judge Clare said being a formerly respectable member of the community was "not unusual for this type of offending". "If you had not been caught, you would have kept going," she said.

"You thought that you were too clever to get caught, in fact you offered advice to others on how to avoid detection, but you were not as smart as you thought and investigators did track you down."

The court heard most of the files Wight collected over the 10-month period featured children younger than 11.

"Your focus was on little girls," Judge Clare said.

"These were real children ... you not only took pleasure witnessing their abuse, you effectively promoted more of the same."

Judge Clare sentenced Wight to three years in prison with probation after serving 16 months.

On his release, Wight will enter a recognisance of $2000, on the condition he remain on good behaviour and be treated and supervised for five years.