A disability support pensioner caught with more than 5000 files of vile child abuse material has been released from custody on a community-based jail sentence after spending more than nine months behind bars.
Patrick Jim Ramsay-Feeney, 34, was first arrested in November 2019 after authorities in Queensland tipped off the Australian Federal Police to his nefarious online activities.
The ACT Supreme Court heard on Wednesday that the unemployed Canberra father-of-two quickly admitted to police that he had received and transmitted child abuse material.
Justice John Burns said Ramsay-Feeney also unlocked and handed over his mobile phone to investigators during a search warrant on the day of his arrest.
A subsequent analysis of the device revealed 5370 files containing child abuse material.
The judge said these had included images of young children "subject to sadism" and sexual penetration.
Among other things, there were also files depicting underage characters from The Simpsons "engaged in sexual activity".
Justice Burns said Ramsay-Feeney's offending had taken place between September 2017 and the date of his arrest.
The 34-year-old eventually pleaded guilty to three charges of using a carriage service to access or possess child abuse material.
His lawyer, Sam McLaughlin, told the court on Wednesday that Ramsay-Feeney had initially been granted bail.
However, the offender was arrested in April last year for breaching the conditions and had been held in custody ever since.
Mr McLaughlin asked Justice Burns to release Ramsay-Feeney on an intensive correction order, which is a community-based jail sentence with strict conditions aimed at promoting rehabilitation.
Commonwealth prosecutor David Bloomfield said with Ramsay-Feeney having already served a lengthy period behind bars on remand, that might be the best way forward to balance the offender's rehabilitation and protection of the community.
Mr Bloomfield stressed that the 34-year-old's offending had involved "real child victims", and that viewing their abuse "fuels a marketplace" for such material.
He also told the court that a clinical psychologist's report suggested Ramsay-Feeney was "quite a high risk of reoffending".
The report further noted that Ramsay-Feeney had admitted having a longstanding sexual attraction to children of both genders.
Justice Burns ultimately found that an intensive correction order was an appropriate sentence, noting that Ramsay-Feeney "can't be held forever".
"It would not be in the public interest to sentence you to a term of imprisonment and have you released without significant supervision and treatment," he told the offender.
The judge sentenced Ramsay-Feeney to about nine-and-a-half months behind bars, which the offender had already served on remand, in relation to two of the charges.
On the remaining count, Justice Burns imposed a nine-month intensive correction order.
In doing so, the judge warned Ramsay-Feeney that failing to comply with conditions, including mental health provisions designed to address the cause of his offending, could result in him needing to serve the nine months "hanging over his head" in full-time custody.