A Queensland anaesthetist "at the height of his profession", caught with almost 14,000 images and videos of child abuse material, has narrowly avoided going to jail.
Keith Benjamin Greenland, 62, pleaded guilty to possessing child exploitation material including digital images and videos in the Brisbane District Court on Tuesday.
He also pleaded guilty to using a carriage service to access and distribute child abuse material in January last year.
The court was told Greenland was at the "height of his profession" when downloaded images of young girls were found on his home computer, USB and a laptop.
The most offensive material involved girls aged five to seven while more than a thousand videos and images of older girls were also seized.
One file also showed distressing images of a young boy being run over by a car.
"This is not a one-time offence borne out of curiosity ... it is not a victimless crime," crown prosecutor Hamish McIntyre said.
Defence barrister Kate Jhusz said Greenland was an "exemplary character" but had been suffering chronic depression leading up to the offences.
Greenland his highly regarded in the medical profession having earned a medical doctorate and been awarded a fellowship in anaesthesiology at Hong Kong University.
"He worked tirelessly in the public system for many years before joining a private anaesthetic group.
"As a professional person ... he is someone who has made some groundbreaking innovations in anaesthesia and research, and he still retains significant professional and personal support, even in light of the gravity of the present matters," she said.
After his arrest in 2020, Greenland resigned from all medical boards and hospital positions.
His name was removed from his published research and Greenland suffered a "deep public shame", the court was told.
Judge Katherine McGinness said Greenland had shown genuine remorse and accepted responsibility for his actions with an early guilty plea.
"I hope he appreciates how close he came to going to jail," Judge McGinness said.
"You have lost your career and your reputation built up over many years of hard work and dedication.
"That in itself is a form of punishment."
Greenland was handed a suspended prison sentence of two-and-a-half years with immediate release.
He was also ordered to serve 200 hours of community service.
Australian Associated Press