A 46-year-old Bunbury man who was caught with explicit images of children on his phone has avoided jail, instead walking away with a fine. Shelden Clem Collard was handed a $1000 fine by the Bunbury District Court after pleading guilty to possessing child exploitation material. The court was told Collard’s mobile phone was seized by police as part of a separate investigation on the morning of April 2 last year when officers discovered two items in the phone’s photo gallery that were deemed to be child exploitation material. The two items were a photo, which depicted a digitally edited image of a naked male toddler, and a 10-second video, which depicted a young boy who was clothed and holding a toy rabbit before moving it to expose himself. During a police interview, Collard initially denied having knowledge of the photo and the video but later telling officers the items were sent to him by a friend “ages ago”, assuming his friend was “just sending stupid s...”. When asked by officers why he still had the items on his phone, Collard said his phone automatically downloaded the material to its photo gallery when he clicked to see the attachments on his friend’s messages. In submissions, Collard’s defence counsel Michael Joubert told the court it was an “unusual matter” as the extent of his client’s offending was failing to delete the items from his phone. Mr Joubert also told the court Collard had no interest in seeking out and viewing child pornography, citing other cases where people would download hundreds, sometimes thousands of child exploitation material items, while Collard only had the two. However, State prosecutor Gary Huggins submitted it was concerning that Collard believed he was sent the material “as a joke” and ultimately failed to delete the material despite claiming it was sent to him some time ago. “The distribution of child exploitation material encourages its production,” he said. “It shouldn’t be a joke.” In sentencing, District Court Judge Natalie Whitby accepted a pre-sentence report that indicated Collard to be at a low risk of reoffending in a similar way and that the offending was “out of character” and him receiving the material was “unsolicited”. However, she noted a perceived lack of insight because Collard thought he was sent the material as a joke, echoing Mr Huggins’ views. After handing down the fine, Judge Whitby warned Collard of the serious nature of possessing child exploitation material, telling him it affects the most vulnerable people in the community and it was not a victimless crime.