1 March 2023

Amaroo man refused bail over allegedly collecting 500,000 files of child abuse

| Albert McKnight
computer disks

Police allegedly found up to 500,000 files of child abuse material at a home in Amaroo. Photo: ACT Policing.

Bail has been refused for a man accused of collecting up to 500,000 videos and photos of child abuse.

Michael Stanley Cooper was arrested after police searched a home in Amaroo and allegedly found the material on several devices.

“Some of these items were hidden throughout the residence,” ACT Policing alleged.

The 65-year-old was charged with possessing child abuse material when he appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court on Wednesday (1 March) and applied to be released on bail.

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The court heard it was alleged that the material showed children as young as five years old. It was also alleged that Cooper had made admissions, including that he was desensitised to the material and “simply has an inability to stop doing it”.

His Legal Aid lawyer said he had cooperated with police. But the prosecutor alleged he had collected the material over seven years, from 2016, and as there were around 500,000 files, it equated to him acquiring 200 files each day over that time.

The prosecutor also alleged Cooper viewed the files as “a hobby” and didn’t accept they caused harm to the children depicted in the images.

Magistrate Robert Cook noted an allegation in the court documents for the case, which claimed Cooper thought children in such abusive material had made “informed choices”.

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The magistrate said he was not satisfied any bail conditions could ameliorate the risks of being released and refused bail.

Cooper, appearing in court over the audio-visual link, scoffed when he heard he would be remanded in custody and the matter was adjourned to 29 March. No plea was entered.

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