Online fantasy chat lands cop in court

A NOWRA policeman and former court prosecutor used a gay dating website to detail fantasies he had about abusing children, a court has heard.

Senior Constable Darryl Laurence Hahn made comments about “tying up parents and raping their children in front of them” while chatting online in a private conversation with another user of the Manhunt website.

Hahn, who went by the user name LetsPlay28, also made suggestions to the user about “forcing a father to rape his son”, and later made references to performing a lewd act on a dog and being attracted to people aged “six or above”.

Unbeknown to Hahn, the other user was an undercover police officer.

Hahn appeared in the Downing Centre District Court on Friday on two charges of using a carriage service to offend.

Hahn’s lawyer, Doug Marr, said his client admitted he took part in the web chats, but was pleading not guilty to both charges based on the context in which the conversation occurred.

Mr Marr argued the exchange had been both private and consensual, and that the undercover officer was, or at least Hahn had believed him to be, a willing recipient of the sexual nature of the conversation.

“It’s not the role of the [court] to censor private conversations between consenting adults,” he said, adding there was no law governing the exact same conversation had it taken place in person.

He said in order for the conversation to be deemed offensive, the recipient needed to have had a “significant emotional reaction or psychological response” to it.

“This [conversation] is something that’s been received by a consenting adult who makes no complaint,” Mr Marr said.

However, Crown prosecutor Jennifer Price argued any reasonable person would find the content of the conversation offensive. 

She said Hahn’s comments were at the highest end of the spectrum, and would fail any test of morality and propriety by the average person.

“The context [in which the conversation took place] becomes less important when the material itself is so offensive,” Ms Price said.

“The reference to sexual abuse of a child on any view must be regarded as universally offensive.”

Presiding magistrate Lisa Stapleton has reserved her judgment in the case until March.

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