John Liljestrom walks to his court hearing last Friday.
John Liljestrom walks to his court hearing last Friday.

Caught with 4427 child porn images

AUSTRALIA’S leading child abuse campaigner, Hetty Johnston, has expressed anger at the leniency of the sentence imposed on a Toormina man caught with thousands of sexually explicit images of children.

John Edward Liljestrom, 51, was free to walk from the Coffs Harbour District Court yesterday after admitting he downloaded 4427 images of children, some as young as three, over a two-year period.

Sitting Judge Hosking ordered Liljestrom to serve 18 months in weekend detention at the Grafton Correctional Centre, while imposing a two-year suspended jail term should he re-offend.

“This is a matter of supply and demand, while offenders are downloading these images of children being raped, tortured and abused, they are creating the necessity for this material on the internet,” Ms Johnston said.

“Downloading child pornography is not a victimless crime.

“I believe the two-strike rule should apply, where the offender is given the benefit of the doubt for the first offence, but if they re-offend again then they should be locked up and the key thrown away.”

Police raided his Toormina home last February seizing two computer hard drives and a collection of DVDs.

Liljestrom told the court he had been fascinated by the material.

When interviewed by detectives, he said he was ‘relieved’ they had caught him.

Liljestrom was afforded leniency for an early guilty plea on charges of using a carriage service to access child pornography and for possession of child pornography.

In acknowledging the offender’s guilt, remorse, disability and troubled childhood, Judge Hosking said he believed the warning to Liljestrom not to re-offend had been ‘seared into his psyche’.

When he took the stand last week, Liljestrom said he was sorry he had committed the crimes, acknowledging he had created a market for the exploitation of young children.

“I feel ashamed that I ever thought to observe the photos and save the photos,” Liljestrom said.

The 51-year-old will serve a minimum parole period of six months with a full term of 18 months.

Late yesterday, Liljestrom’s legal defence Todd Ritchie said ‘the whole matter has been traumatic for John and his family’, and one his client hoped to put behind him.

Crown prosecutors have 28-days to appeal the sentence.



bcu opens at Coffs Central

bcu opens at Coffs Central

The old firm in a new site

Payne to candidly share her life story

Payne to candidly share her life story

Inspirational jockey to tell her story at The Harbour Club

What to do in a powerline emergency

What to do in a powerline emergency

Tips on what to do if you hit a powerline.

Local Partners