Skip to content Skip to main navigation

News

Excellence in Public Sector consulting

Michael Edward Hatch gets five months for child porn.

By johnboy - 18 July 2008 38

[First filed: July 15, 2008 @ 18:24]

The Herald Sun reports that the former ACT policeman Michael Hatch has been sentenced to what we can only imagine will be a very hard five months in prison for possessing around 20 images of child pornography on his work computer and another 50 at his home.

An extensive list of “teen” websites of shady repute he had visited (which I’m told usually claim to have 18 and 19 year old models, often actually much older) was also tendered to the court. How many of us would be happy to see our browser histories published?

Personally I wish him a safe custodial sentence and a full rehabilitation.

Without wishing in any way to trivialise his offence; I personally think between the loss of his career, his good name, and five months as a prisoner at risk he’s a bit of a scape-goat for a great many people doing much worse.

UPDATED: The ABC reports that he’s appealing the sentence.

UPDATED: Just heard on the radio that he’s been bailed by the Supreme Court pending his appeal. ABC have it here

What’s Your opinion?


Please login to post your comments, or connect with
38 Responses to
Michael Edward Hatch gets five months for child porn.
Filter
Showing only Website comments
Order
Newest to Oldest
Oldest to Newst
123qwe 11:46 pm 18 Jul 08

I wonder what Hatch’s defence representatives are after in regard to sentencing? Less than 3 months? Good behaviour order? Suspended sentence?

How hard will the DPP go in chasing the custodial sentence?

spoonbill 6:32 pm 18 Jul 08

JB each image of child pornography represents a crime being committed against a child. Everytime that image is viewed the crime is perpetuated. As someone who worked many years in criminal intelligence targeting these people, don’t ever trivialise the offence of collecting child pornography! I would stake my reputation on the fact that he has a harddrive loaded with child pornography stashed somewhere that was not found.

thecman 5:52 pm 18 Jul 08

“This is perhaps the one point that we are overlooking, this guy had the images on his home pc, not just his work pc. he was actively searching for the material. If he wanted to do research from home, why didn’t he use a work laptop?”

Just want to make sure we have our facts straight on this one. He did not have any images on his work computer – none. They were all on his home computer. There is no evidence that he was doing any authorised or unauthorised research / investigation linked to his duties as a Police Officer. Hatch has not even made this claim. ‘Work from home’ for this type of crime would never be authorised by his employer anyway, for a range of very obvious reasons. In any event Hatch did not work in an area of the AFP involved in child porn investigations so he had no lawful reason to be viewing / accessing / downloading the stuff.

His acts were premeditated, deliberate and undertaken to gratify his sexual fantasies and urges – which could only be done at the ultimate expense of the innocent child victims in the images. No doubt the Supreme Court will uphold the appeal and Hatch will go free – albeit with his personal life and reputation in tatters. I wonder how that compares though to the suffering of children abused via the trade in child pornography.

serpico 3:35 pm 18 Jul 08

Joe Canberran said :

Any crime would be enough to see a police officer lose their job and any prison sentence would likely be far harsher on them than on a standard prisoner. I think you’d find if you did a survey of ex-police/guards, etc who got locked up that for a lot of them their main thought was that they knew the system well enough/were smart enough that they wouldn’t get caught in the first place. Few people commit crime with the intention to get caught.

I believe harsh sentencing doesn’t work as a deterrent. I also don’t think it should be used as punishment. I do think it is the only effective and most humane way we currently have of removing people who are a risk to the rest of society.

I have to disagree.How is being sent to Cooma gaol harsher than being sent to a general prison.It would be like a holiday camp.I think he received a light sentence.He knew what he was doing therefore from his position as a police officer his punishment is warranted.

flying doormat 12:05 pm 18 Jul 08

So off to Cooma gaol with all the other corrupt police and “special cases” that cant be left alone with general population prisoners. Lets hope he learns his lesson

peterh 10:45 am 17 Jul 08

johnboy said :

What I am saying is that most people have images on their hard drives that they’ve *never* seen.

A few years ago there were reports that illegal images were being displayed on web pages but HTML constrained to zero size. You look at the page, see some words and some harmless images, and your cache is filling up with things you can go to prison for.

I don’t know that it still goes on (not much motive to do it really) but there are a lot of twisted puppies out there.

Unless you are a highly paranoid and very skilled operator there are almost certainly images on your hard drive that you have never seen and that you would find embarrassing if it were published.

The upside is that people using them for jollies don’t have one image or five, they have hundreds, thousands of the damn things. Now it could well be that evidence was destroyed here, and statements of remorse have to be taken as admissions of guilt.

But I do await the outcome of the appeals court.

Also I’d like to point out that a custodial sentence of any length is inherently harsher on police than non-police due to deficiencies in our penal system (and out prisoners). To make it longer on account of being a police officer seems to me to be a double helping.

JB,

unknown images on my work pc would be found on one of the many passes my IT department does, searching for mp3’s, images, videos etc. I cannot download anything that is deemed inappropriate, access an inappropriate site, however the bluecoat server has made some dubious calls re that, access any sites with profanity, nudity etc. The email server is run by messagelabs, they catch all spam, inappropriate emails, and scan everything that comes in.

The work pc is not owned by me, it is the company’s – if I am dumb enough to have images on my work pc, I deserve to be caught and punished.

This is perhaps the one point that we are overlooking, this guy had the images on his home pc, not just his work pc. he was actively searching for the material. If he wanted to do research from home, why didn’t he use a work laptop?

He has been caught, he did wrong, and it is zero tolerance for any breach of the Govt / Corporate code of conduct.

Joe Canberran 9:38 am 17 Jul 08

Any crime would be enough to see a police officer lose their job and any prison sentence would likely be far harsher on them than on a standard prisoner. I think you’d find if you did a survey of ex-police/guards, etc who got locked up that for a lot of them their main thought was that they knew the system well enough/were smart enough that they wouldn’t get caught in the first place. Few people commit crime with the intention to get caught.

I believe harsh sentencing doesn’t work as a deterrent. I also don’t think it should be used as punishment. I do think it is the only effective and most humane way we currently have of removing people who are a risk to the rest of society.

DJ 9:12 am 17 Jul 08

I am 100% opposed to kiddie porn however I don’t understand why the sentence was high compared to other offenders committing the exact same offence that went before the courts in the last few years. Yes he was Police but he is still a person (not defending him here) like the others who also did the same thing and received substantially less. Even the playing field and sentence them all the same.

Slapp_monkey – unfortunately you are right. History shows if a judge/magistrate drink drives they are not subjected to the same penalties as you or I. The public had no control over that nor did the politicians… they are not accountable to anybody.

Slapp_monkey 12:13 am 17 Jul 08

JB – Interesting point about the prison time being harsher for Police. It clearly is not a deterrent as these Police officers have still offended knowing the penalties that can occur.

I’m not sure that a judge should concern themselves with how harsh the prison time is just because the other inmates may not appreciate having kiddie watching copper in their prison. Or that the corrective service people may see it as a betrayal of justice system and allow the inmates to brutalise them.

By that same logic a child sex offender, who also does quite hard time, should not be given a longer sentence. Police are entrusted with the society’s safety and they should be treated accordingly when they betray that.

Like wise if a judge or member of parliament breached the law they should also be treated harshly.

It is only that we are comfortable with our politicians ripping us off and judge’s drink driving. That we do not hold them to the high standards that we do Police.

If Police cannot handle the concept that they have to be role models for society and held accountable then they should get out of the job.

johnboy 10:14 pm 16 Jul 08

What I am saying is that most people have images on their hard drives that they’ve *never* seen.

A few years ago there were reports that illegal images were being displayed on web pages but HTML constrained to zero size. You look at the page, see some words and some harmless images, and your cache is filling up with things you can go to prison for.

I don’t know that it still goes on (not much motive to do it really) but there are a lot of twisted puppies out there.

Unless you are a highly paranoid and very skilled operator there are almost certainly images on your hard drive that you have never seen and that you would find embarrassing if it were published.

The upside is that people using them for jollies don’t have one image or five, they have hundreds, thousands of the damn things. Now it could well be that evidence was destroyed here, and statements of remorse have to be taken as admissions of guilt.

But I do await the outcome of the appeals court.

Also I’d like to point out that a custodial sentence of any length is inherently harsher on police than non-police due to deficiencies in our penal system (and out prisoners). To make it longer on account of being a police officer seems to me to be a double helping.

Slapp_monkey 9:36 pm 16 Jul 08

Sepi- I’m not saying that at all.

What I’m saying is that if you are frequent internet user you will get images sent to you. Unless you wish to surf the internet via a blindfold you will at least get a few hits on viewed images.

I am not saying that anyone should have the images stored.

sepi 8:36 pm 16 Jul 08

I can guarantee I don’t have any kiddie porn on my computer – or any porn.

Are you really trying to say that most people look at this stuff out of curiosity and are not offenders????

Slapp_monkey 8:29 pm 16 Jul 08

JB – I agree with your point about considering how accurate the accounts of the images viewed. How many people have had stuff sent them by unwanted sources. I would almost be more concerned about someone who had absolutely nothing as I would be curious as to what they were hiding.

Should Police be held more accountable then other people? Why? are they not people that make mistakes, like everyone else.

Do they have to be perfect?

Are they not allowed to be human?

My thoughts are that Police should be held more accountable, they are the people we turn to when we cannot handle a situation.

Police are supposed to be the best, the ones we trust to protect society. When they are shown to have acted poorly or with intent towards breaking the law then they should be punished.

Police should be made to understand that and in doing so allows the public to trust them.

I for one want to know that when I tell my kids to trust the Police that they can.

bigfeet 7:48 pm 16 Jul 08

Tool said :

This sentence is hardly normal, and will likely be reduced when it goes before the Court of Appeal, and thus continues the ongoing power play between the ACT Magistrates and Supreme Courts.

I think the Appeals will rule it excessive…going on what other penalties have been (or not been) handed out for similar.

Personally, I think it’s about right for a first offender.

Tool 7:31 pm 16 Jul 08

Whilst I applaud the Magistrates Court for actually handing out an acceptable sentence for this crime type, it concerns me that there is such a large contrast in sentencing for like offences.

I acknowledge that holding a position of trust makes the offence seem worse, however I cannot see how a Police Officer of 5 years is considered worse than a person who was convicted of the same offence, and had received an Order of Australia for their lifetime at the least of work with children – R v Fowler.

Offences of a sexual nature should be judged on face value, evidence of a persons good character in my opinion means very little as clearly they have lived a life of deceit and contradicted everything the evidence is meant to represent.

Perhaps minimum sentences should be imposed for these offence types to avoid any biases coming into play in the sentencing process, and remind potential offenders of what to expect at the very least should they get caught.

This sentence is hardly normal, and will likely be reduced when it goes before the Court of Appeal, and thus continues the ongoing power play between the ACT Magistrates and Supreme Courts.

Deadmandrinking 2:36 pm 16 Jul 08

Headbonius said :

I agree with DMD! Excellent points

Tagline?

vandam 2:33 pm 16 Jul 08

I guess we will have to wait and see what the other people in this ‘sting’ get in court. You would want to hope they at least get similar sentences.

peterh 2:01 pm 16 Jul 08

Hamilton said :

“How sure are you that every single image on your hard drive is kosher? Every email attachment, every image in your browser cache from every web-site you’ve ever visited?”

I can assure you that my hard drive is empty of images of this sort, the bluecoat server takes care of sites I visit, the email anti spam server catches the rest.

Being a parent, I personally think that pedophiles, child porn creators and viewers should be hit with maximum sentencing, made to wear electronic tags for tracking purposes once they do get out and if they breach any of their conditions, go straight back in.

This guy got caught. He should face the same jail time that others do for these offences, regardless of his position in the community. I am fairly certain that the fact that he is a policeman should be reflected in his sentence, if you uphold the law, then break it, you should expect to get severe retribution.

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2018 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
www.the-riotact.com | www.b2bmagazine.com.au | www.thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site