An unnamed thief in Australia turned himself in to police back in October. Now, he is being shown leniency by the magistrate who sentenced him, and being praised for his actions. Why the sudden spate of conscience? And why the leniency?
The man had happened upon a car with its windows open. He had stolen two cellphones and a wallet and walked away. But, upon examining his haul, he found that the cellphones contained pictures of pornographic images of children. He immediately took the phones to the nearest police station, turned himself in and told his story.
The man had already been wanted on an car theft charge and agreed to be arrested. However, his actions allowed the police to arrest the 46 year-old owner of the phones on child pornography charges.
The man went before Magistrates Court on Tuesday and pleaded guilty to the charges against him, seven in all. The magistrate, however, went easy on him and praised him for his actions.
"You did the right thing," she said. "That kind of offending is very serious. You are to be commended for your conduct even though it placed you at jeopardy of losing your own liberty." She said that the court would not want to "discourage other like minded people to act in the manner you have."
The man was ordered to serve only one month in prison and pay a $400 fine.
Even within the prison system, child molesters and pornographers are held in particular disdain by other criminals. Sometimes, they are assigned to separate cells lest they be beaten by other inmates.