Masseur who filmed girl spared jail term

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser

An Albany masseur accused of secretly filming clients has avoided jail despite pleading guilty to one charge of indecently recording a child of 15 years.

Mark William Robson, 41, was sentenced to nine months prison suspended for 12 months in the Albany District Court yesterday after admitting to concealing a camera and filming the child as she undressed for a massage in January 2015.

Robson was charged after Albany detectives seized camera equipment and data storage devices from his York Street business, Mark Robson Massage Therapy, in July last year after his wife discovered the videos on his computer.

The court was told yesterday Robson, who now lives in Perth and has ceased to be a massage therapist, used a Nokia mobile phone as a camera and concealed it in a speaker box near the head of his massage table to see the child’s breasts as she got undressed.

He then edited the video and saved 52 still images of the child whose mother was a friend.

Defence lawyer Bruno Illari said Robson had suffered sexual abuse when he was six years old in the form of being exposed to pornography and voyeuristic behaviour by a friend two years older.

Mr Illari said his client had no sexual interest in children, which was reinforced by a psychological report, but his childhood abuse had led to a pornography addiction.

He said Robson accepted his conduct was a “gross breach of trust” and had written a letter of apology to all his victims.

Judge John Staude said the child exploitation material created was for Robson’s own personal sexual gratification but accepted Mr Illari’s position that Robson had been psychologically damaged from a young age which had led to a “complicated case”.

He said while the charge usually attracted an immediate term of imprisonment he was persuaded to suspend the nine-month prison term for 12 months because of Robson’s prior good character, the unusual circumstances behind his offending, his remorse and own attempts at rehabilitation and his early guilty plea.

Robson will be sentenced to 88 counts of visually recording a private activity and one count of possessing a surveillance device knowing it was for unlawful use when he reappears in Albany Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.

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