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Bar Talk
18 June, 2008  
What was on Patrick Power's computer?

The misery and woe are not over yet for former NSW crown prosecutor Patrick Power. Repellent material emerges in striking-off reasons. The NSW Court of Appeal inferred that Power tampered with the evidence and perverted the course of justice

imagePatrick Power (pic), the NSW former deputy senior crown prosecutor, had some horribly disturbing stuff on his computer.

The NSW Court of Appeal included a set of agreed facts in its judgment on Tuesday (June 17), in which orders were made striking Power from the jam roll for professional misconduct, and for him to pay the Bar ‘n’ Grill’s costs.

The Court of Appeal (Beazley, Hodgson and McColl) said that inferences can be drawn that Power removed one of the hard drives from his computer (drive F) before taking it to work for repair.

He left the F drive in his house, mistakenly believing it contained all the child pornographic material on his computer.

He was unaware that technicians could also retrieve material from the computer that had been stored on the removed F drive.

It was also inferred that Power hid or disposed of the F drive after he became aware that colleagues at the ODPP had found child pornography on his computer.

Power had two full days at home after he agreed to be suspended from his job and prior to the police search of his house and garage.

As Acting Judge Boulton in the appeal on sentencing said:

“The only rational inference in the circumstances is that [Power] did something to put [the F drive] beyond the reach of the search warrant [that was executed at his residence] on July 6, 2006.”

Power consented to the finding of professional misconduct and having his name removed from the roll.

However, the Bar Association wanted further findings from the Court of Appeal, that Power had disposed of the F drive, thereby committing the offences of tampering with evidence (10 years) and perverting the course of justice (14 years).

Power opposed consideration of these additional matters.

He exercised his right to silence at the time of the investigation of the child pornography possession offence and he didn’t give evidence to the Court of Appeal that might explain what happened to hard drive F.

imageJustice David Hodgson (pic), giving the judgment of the court said:

“In my opinion this obligation of candour should not be overridden by a right to silence to any greater extent than is strictly required by that right.”

He went on to say that the inference was available that Power hid or disposed of the F drive so that it would not be used as evidence against him.

Such conduct would amount to offences under the Crimes Act NSW, (s.317 and s.319).

The agreed statement of facts showed that Power is one sick bunny of a banished prosecutor. What emerged was this:

A computer systems analyst in the information, management and technology branch of the DPP’s office was backing up Power’s computer on a portable hard drive in order to repair it.

During the back-up he noticed a file called “P 101 mikea01 10yo boy rides his dads big cock, fucked hard pthc gay boy avi”.

The analyst conducted a search and found a file called “Good” on the computer. It contained 31 video files with names “suggesting that their contents were of a sexual nature”.

The analyst also located a video file containing footage “of a middle aged man having anal sex on a sofa with a young Asian boy”.

There was a video called ”(pedo gay) man fucks 5yo thai boy.mpg”. The agreed facts states:

“The opening scene of the video was of an Asian boy, seemingly aged less than 10 years, with his head near the genitals of a man who was masturbating in front on his face. The scene then shifted to that of a middle aged white man preparing a young Asian child for sex by smearing lubricant on his anus, and then having anal intercourse with the child.”

The state electronic evidence branch of the NSW Police was able to reconstruct much of what was contained on hard drive F, even though it had disappeared.

Sergeant John McCulloch’s principal findings include:

“Some of the files bore names such as ‘Naughtyboyz Weekend House Party, Two boys playing in bed hardons, Gay porn … threesome rape of blond boy, Boy tucked by dad, 10yo Indinian boy loves his rubber dildo man fucks him hard, Gay porn young man tied gets raped begs for them to stop. Two gorgeous young boys jerkoff cum facial and kiss.”

All stomach churning stuff.

Among the 31 videos of child pornography there were sex scenes of adult males engaged in a variety of sex acts with young children aged 10 years and less and with adolescents aged under 16 years including penetrative, oral and anal sex, bondage and masturbation and sex acts between adolescent males.

There was one image of an adult female masturbating an adolescent male.

The average length of the videos was 15 minutes, some running up to 37 minutes.

Also found on Power’s computer was a database of 28,981 thumbnail images, mostly homosexual pornography. However, there were 433 images of child pornography.

There was also found on the hard drive a very strange novel called The White Glove, which contained passages describing sexual acts between males under the age of 16.

Needless to say, there was a stack of bookmarked internet sites that had names suggestive of child pornography, e.g. “gay boy’s club, Welcome to teen gay, Gay youth links, teenlover, Daddy fuck me in the butt again”.

There’s no need to go on.

Power had been breaking the law for some time, to satisfy, as he said: “a long term sexual fantasy”.

He’d still be at it, while a senior prosecutor, had it not been for his own carelessness and ignorance of what can stay trapped on a computer’s hard drive.

It does rather tickle speculation about other highly placed cogs in the great legal edifice whose demons take them to unspeakable places.

You can be sure Paddy Power SC is not be alone in taking that journey.