'Death threats' prompted SA man charged over childlike sex doll to move to Victoria, court told


The first South Australian to be charged with possessing a childlike sex doll was forced to relocate to Victoria after receiving death threats, according to his lawyer.

Key points:

  • The charges against James David Ryan Sharp include possessing a sex doll or object that resembles a child
  • Mr Sharp, who is currently in Victoria, could be jailed for 15 years if he is convicted
  • Mr Sharp's lawyer says border restrictions have hampered his ability to get instructions, and a hearing date has been set for later this year

James David Ryan Sharp, 31, is yet to enter pleas to five major indictable offences related to the possession and purchase of child abuse material.

Defence lawyer Dylan Walsh told the Mount Gambier Magistrates Court that he had been unable to gain instructions from his client because he now resided in Victoria.

"Following our client's arrest there was heavy media involvement which resulted in death threats," Mr Walsh said.

"An application was brought forward to allow the defendant to relocate to Victoria."

Mr Walsh said hard border restrictions meant Mr Sharp had been unable to visit his legal office in Mount Gambier.

Requesting a short adjournment, he said that problem had been resolved thanks to the recent relaxation of restrictions for cross-border community members.

Magistrate Maria Panagiotidis granted the adjournment and the matter was listed to be heard on December 22.

Cross-agency collaboration

South Australian authorities launched an investigation in November after receiving information from New South Wales Police and the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC).

The investigation led to detectives searching Mr Sharp's premises on January 14.

During the search, police allegedly located and seized the childlike doll, children's clothing, a computer, a mobile phone and a bank card.

Australian Federal Police arrested and charged Mr Sharp with numerous offences.

A large brick building with a red-tilled roof on an overcast day.
The defence lawyer told the court his client was unable to visit Mount Gambier for appointments due to border restrictions.(ABC South East SA: Bec Whetham)

Police alleged Mr Sharp purchased the doll from a supplier in China in 2018.

He also allegedly purchased a variety of children's clothing, including school uniforms, swimwear and underwear.

Mr Sharp could face 15 years behind bars if he is convicted of possessing the anatomically correct doll.

He was the first person in South Australia to be charged under the new offence, which came into force on September 20, 2019.

The AFP Acting Commander of South Australia Gail McClure said the dolls objectified children as sexual beings and could desensitise anyone who used them to the physical, emotional and psychological harm caused by sexual abuse.

"The Australian Federal Police does not condone any form of child exploitation, or activity of any kind that reinforces the sexualisation of children," she said in a statement in January.

"This arrest highlights the collaborative work undertaken by the AFP and its partners to protect children and identify and prosecute anyone who seeks to exploit and harm them."

(Source)


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