Bevan Allan Stephens.
Bevan Allan Stephens.

Teacher made child porn at swimming carnival

A TOWNSVILLE teacher charged with child-porn offences used a mobile phone app to take secret photos of students at a swim carnival.

Former Pimlico State High School teacher Bevan Allan Stephens, 42, was sentenced in the Townsville District Court yesterday for possessing child pornography as well as taking covert photos of students using a mobile phone app known as Spy Photo.

He pleaded guilty to using a carriage service to access child-exploitation material, making child-exploitation material and eight counts of possessing child-exploitation material.

Crown prosecutor Chris Moore said when police searched Stephens' home in 2016 they found he had downloaded child pornography over a 17-month period, with police finding about 130,000 photos and 600 videos when they searched his home.

"He was in the process of downloading further material when the search warrant was executed," he said.

Mr Moore said Stephens had taken 122 secret photos of students in swimwear at a school swimming carnival, including 38 close-up shots of students' backsides and pubic regions.

"Further images were also captured by the defendant using the same application of other students on other dates," he said.

"Although they do not fit within the classification of child-pornography material … the presence of them on the mobile phone indicates the defendant had been taking covert photographs of his students on multiple occasions."

Mr Moore said taking covert photographs of students was a gross breach of trust of his position.

Defence barrister Claire Grant said Stephens had lost his career, connection with his family and had been isolated from his peer group as a result of the charges.

"This situation represents the defendant's rock bottom," she said.

"It is a tragic circumstance where a person of otherwise good conduct comes before the court."

Ms Grant said Stephens was only charged with making child-exploitation material earlier this year after police advised they had been able to identify the photographs.

A psychological report prepared by Dr Luke Hatzipetrou was tendered to the court, with Ms Grant noting that Stephens had revealed that he had a "longstanding interest in adult pornography" and began searching for child-exploitation material after the breakdown of his marriage.

Ms Grant said he would have to reinvent his life completely after being released from custody.

"He's lost his job, he's lost his home, he's lost his relationship with his children and the only person that really supports him is his mother," she said.

Stevens cried in the dock as he was sentenced to four years' imprisonment for making child-exploitation material, four years for using a carriage service to access child-exploitation material and 2½ years for each count of possessing child-exploitation material.

He will be able to apply for parole after serving 20 months.