Disgraced former South Australian MP Bernard Finnigan has received death threats, had his house vandalised and his reputation ruined forever after being found guilty on a child pornography charge, a court has heard.
Finnigan has asked that no conviction be recorded against him and that any jail term be suspended.
But District Court Judge Steven Millsteed has questioned if he has the power to not record a conviction against the 42-year-old after Finnigan pleaded not guilty and the case went to trial.
Defence counsel Hannah Doyle said it was her submission that discretion remained with the judge while Prosector Mark Norman said it would send “entirely the wrong message” if no conviction was recorded.
“The damage done to him (Finnigan) is nothing compared to the damage done to the victims of child sexual abuse,” Mr Norman said.
Ms Doyle told the court that Finnigan had been subject to death threats and those threats had extended to his legal team.
He had also been subject to intense media scrutiny and a high level of public humiliation.
“Mr Finnigan’s reputation has been ruined forever,” Ms Doyle said.
“He lives in fear on a daily basis.”
She said if Finnigan’s sentence was suspended he would agree to any condition imposed.
Mr Norman said the question of suspension was one for the court but conceded that Finnigan’s offending was at the low end of the scale.
However, he said Finnigan had still not acknowledged what he had done which could not be said to be the result of naivety or ignorance.
“The defendant could properly be said to have known very much better,” Mr Norman told the court.
Judge Millsteed said he also regarded Finnigan’s offending at the lower end of the scale.
He also moved to lift suppression orders on the search terms Finnigan used and the names of the websites he visited.
But he said anyone who subsequently sought to access those sites “would be a complete fool”.
Finnigan will be sentenced on December 9.