Porn files accessed again

Samuel Ebdell needs psychological treatment for his sex offending, a judge has said. PHOTO: ODT...
Samuel Ebdell needs psychological treatment for his sex offending, a judge has said. PHOTO: ODT FILES
A teenage sex offender came back before the court for possessing the same child pornography he was originally caught with.

The situation was "highly unusual", Judge Emma Smith told the Dunedin District Court this week.

Samuel Leigh Ebdell (19) was sentenced to community detention and intensive supervision last year for a range of sex offences including possessing the objectionable publications, which featured girls as young as 3 and a woman performing a sex act on a dog.

At that hearing, Judge John Macdonald ordered the images and hardware on which they were stored to be destroyed.

And they were.

But the depraved files remained on a cloud-based drive.

When Ebdell later accessed it, the images were "somehow downloaded", the judge said, and thus he had technically committed the same offences.

His previous offending also involved him having sex with an underage girl and blackmailing her.

Ebdell threatened to post online a video of them having sex if the victim did not send him explicit photos of herself.

It turned out, she was not the only victim.

Another teen subsequently approached police and complained Ebdell had also taken advantage of her in 2016.

The victim, who was 14 at the time, left her class at school early to meet the defendant, who was two years older than her.

The girl resisted some of Ebdell's advances but performed a sex act on him.

While serving his sentence last year, the defendant found other ways to break the law.

Twice he met people who had advertised motorbikes for sale on Facebook and took the vehicles for a test drive.

But on both occasions, he failed to return them to their owners.

He was disqualified from driving at the time.

Though his mother and stepfather were supportive, defence counsel Sarah Saunderson-Warner said, the relationship became strained last year.

Ebdell's original sentence was set up to have him receive counselling to combat his sex offending, but that did not happen.

Ms Saunderson-Warner said things had since improved.

Ebdell was seeing a psychotherapist and wait-listed to see a psychologist; he had finished his automotive study and was now on work experience.

Judge Smith said it was imperative the defendant underwent therapy.

"If he does not get good help, he will reoffend - that's my prediction," she said.

"I can see every red flag that we're used to."

The judge imposed two years' intensive supervision, six months' community detention and ordered reparation of more than $5500.

She declined to add Ebdell to the child sex offender register.

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