Reasons behind cardiologist's child exploitation offending unveiled: court



pleaded guilty, See all newsletters

Cardiac surgeon Andrew Douglas McGavigan fronted the Adelaide District Court on Monday over child exploitation charges. Picture: SuppledSource:Supplied

Mental health issues and “escapism” from personal and work stressors were the reasons a South Australian cardiologist was found with child exploitation material on his mobile phone, a court has heard.

Andrew Douglas McGavigan, 49, pleaded guilty to one count each of using a carriage service to access the abusive material and possessing or controlling the material in the form of data on a computer or storage device.

The defendant, who worked at Flinders Medical Centre, was arrested in December 2020 after SA Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (JACET) officers raided his Hawthorn home and found the abusive material on his mobile.

They also discovered records of communication between himself and another person discussing engaging in sexual activity with children in Thailand via Skype and other apps between May 31 and December 6, 2020.

Appearing in the Adelaide District Court on Monday, the Scottish-born cardiologist also pleaded guilty to the charge of using a carriage service in a way that reasonable persons regarded as being offence.

The court heard McGavigan requested the other chat recipients role play as a young girl for the purpose of sexual activity and to ask the recipients to source the young girl for the purposes of sexual activity.

pleaded guilty, See all newsletters

Cardiologist Andrew McGavigan pleaded guilty to two counts relating to child exploitation offences in the Adelaide Magistrates Court in March. Picture: Brenton Edwards / NCA NewsWireSource:News Corp Australia

His defence lawyer, Heath Barklay SC, argued his client committed the offending while he suffered from undiagnosed depression, sleep deprivation, over work and personal and work stressors.

The lawyer said McGavigan had no idea about the quantity of files he uploaded to a cloud-based storage device, had only clicked on some of the material and thought he deleted the files after clicking on them.

Mr Barklay asked Judge Julie McIntyre to consider imposing a suspended sentence or home detention because exceptional circumstances existed.

He said the combination of McGavigan’s early guilty pleas, contrition and remorse, contribution to medicine and the community, active engagement in treatment since his arrest and loss he suffered – like being deregistered as a doctor and resigning from national and international medical boards – were some of the reasons to justify the lesser sentence.

“He has an acute fear of being sent to prison and the charges themselves, and all that has flown from it, has achieved personal deterrence, taking into account the personal price he has paid for the pain and anguish he has caused his wife and (two) children,” Mr Barklay told the judge.

The Party Games newsletter Get your political briefing from news.com.au’s political editor Samantha Maiden.

The Party Games newsletter Success! Check your inbox for details. See all newsletters

He asked the judge to consider his client’s poor mental state at the time of his offending as well as after the charges were laid because McGavigan had thoughts of suicide.

Mr Barklay also cited psychiatrist and psychologist reports that suggested his client was at a low risk of reoffending and had “excellent prospects” for rehabilitation.

He said “escapism” was the driver was for McGavigan’s offending rather than sexual arousal.

“Accessing the child abuse material was a result of the defendant initially engaging in adult pornography which led to him engaging in more and more taboo topics.”

“Eventually he had been clicking on and uploading child abuse material at the suggestion of other people that he was communicating with.

“It was the taboo nature of the discussions that the defendant was attracted to (and) was emotionally aroused (by) … he has no sexual interest in children.”

pleaded guilty, See all newsletters

The defendant on Monday also pleaded guilty to using a carriage service in a way that reasonable persons regarded as being offensive. Picture: Naomi Jellicoe / NCA NewsWireSource:News Corp Australia

However, prosecutor Jeff Powell said immediate jail time was the only appropriate sentence, because the charges were too serious and child abuse offences were not victimless crimes.

He said McGavigan was aware his deliberate offending was “wrong and illegal” and was not due to a misunderstanding or lapse in judgment.

The court heard police found the defendant in possession of 9235 images or videos, but only 4061 were able to be examined by officers, where the ”predominant” amount depicted abusive material.

Mr Powell told Judge McIntyre the file examination had “limitations” as officers were only able to determine when the files were first opened and could not say if or when they were reopened.

The prosecutor, however, said the cardiologist opened the files on five different occasions on four different days between September 22 and October 9 last year, so his claims he thought he deleted the files after clicking on them were false.

He also referred to chat messages involving the accused that were not read aloud in the courtroom but were provided to the judge.

Mr Powell argued McGavigan was sexually aroused by children because the content of those messages contradicted the defendant’s claim the chats were part of his “taboo fantasy”.

“He still accessed and possessed the material and engaged in the chat conversation,” the prosecutor said.

“He’d caused the damage, whatever the motivation was.”

McGavigan is due to reappear later this month to be sentenced.

News Related

OTHER NEWS

Hospital review will lock out victims: LNP

It’s been over three years since school teacher Olivia Keating went to Caboolture hospital for a caesarean and emerged with part of her bowel sewn into the wall of her abdomen. ... Read more »

Vaccine clinic at Royal Perth Show

A walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinic will be established at the Royal Perth Show, with West Australian Premier Mark McGowan urging people to take the opportunity to get the jab. © ... Read more »

NSW govt's remaining WestConnex stake sold

The NSW government has collected $11.1 billion from the sale of its remaining stake in the WestConnex motorway and will allocate $5 billion to an infrastructure fund for western Sydney. ... Read more »

Miners' plunge resumes, ASX down 1.5pc

Iron ore miners’ plunging popularity has continued at the start of the trading week amid widespread selling on the share market. © Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS Huge falls for iron ore ... Read more »

ACT's swing at feds over Pfizer supplies

© Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS Andrew Barr says the ACT should not be treated differently to Victoria and NSW on vaccine supply. The ACT has accused the federal government of giving ... Read more »

Manly carry semi-final chip on shoulder

Taniela Paseka hasn’t stopped thinking about the last time Manly lost to South Sydney in an NRL final. © Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS Manly prop Taniela Paseka is desperate to right ... Read more »

NT COVID-19 case has 24 close contacts

The Northern Territory has recorded a new COVID-19 case after a man travelled from NSW to Darwin and tested positive. © Aaron Bunch/AAP PHOTOS The Northern Territory has recorded a ... Read more »

Cowra back in lockdown after boy, 9, tests positive

The Cowra Shire in Central West New South Wales will snap back into lockdown from 5pm today, after a young boy tested positive for coronavirus. Anyone who has been in ... Read more »

Morrison talks up regional security as he leaves for US talks

© Getty Morrison will this week hold talks with Mr Biden and the leaders of India and Japan that make up the Quad security forum. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has ... Read more »

Hydrogen energy hubs receive $150m boost

Two hydrogen energy hubs will receive $150 million in federal funding as the government throws more weight behind the industry. © Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS The hydrogen industry can “help Australia ... Read more »

Australia Post needs to fill 5,000 positions ahead of Christmas

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Australia Post needs to recruit almost 5,000 workers to keep up with demand from people in locked down areas, with more than two ... Read more »

NSW Covid update: cases drop to three-week low of 935, but deaths yet to peak

New South Wales has reported 935 new cases of Covid-19, the lowest daily caseload recorded in more than three weeks, with premier Gladys Berejiklian warning that, despite the falling infection ... Read more »

Canberra records seven new COVID-19 cases

Canberra has recorded seven new coronavirus infections as ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr takes a swing at the Morrison government over vaccine supply. © Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS Andrew Barr says ... Read more »

Small businesses rejoice as Aussies plan to spend up big at Christmas

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Retailers struggling to keep afloat as a result of coronavirus lockdowns are being given a glimmer of hope for a busy Christmas trading ... Read more »

NT COVID case has 24 close contacts

The Northern Territory has recorded a new COVID-19 case after a man travelled from NSW to Darwin and tested positive. © Aaron Bunch/AAP PHOTOS The Northern Territory has recorded a ... Read more »

NSW records 935 new cases of COVID-19, four deaths

© Getty Berejiklian revealed that about one in five children aged 12 to 15 have now received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. NSW has reported 935 new local ... Read more »

NSW Cowra community to go into lockdown

The central western NSW town of Cowra is going into lockdown after a primary school boy tested positive to COVID-19. © Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS Dr Chant said a week’s lockdown ... Read more »

NSW police never started investigating Christian Porter rape allegation, internal review reveals

© Provided by The Guardian Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian New South Wales police acknowledged they “never had the opportunity to commence the investigation” into an allegation of rape by Christian ... Read more »

ASX falls as iron ore slump hits miners; Transurban buys rest of WestConnex; AusNet receives takeover bid

© Provided by ABC Business Transurban and its partners will own all of Sydney’s WestConnex toll road network, some parts of which remain under construction. (ABC News: John Gunn) Mining ... Read more »

Emu migration underway across outback, after replenishing rains in NSW

© Provided by ABC NEWS Emus can sense where rain has fallen, and are heading south. (Supplied: Angus Emmott, file photo) Emus in eastern Australia have returned to their long ... Read more »

NSW records 935 new local COVID-19 cases

NSW has reported 935 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19, dipping back under 1000 daily infections, and four deaths. © Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS NSW has recorded 935 new local COVID-19 ... Read more »

Police investigate after Age photographer capsicum-sprayed during Melbourne protest

The conduct of some Victoria Police is being investigated after a newspaper photographer was pepper sprayed and video was published online showing a woman being pushed to the ground and sprayed ... Read more »

New South Wales records 935 new local COVID-19 cases, four deaths

© Getty More than 124,000 people came forward for testing in the last 24 hours. New South Wales has recorded 935 new local COVID-19 cases and four further deaths in ... Read more »

Australia Post on Christmas hiring drive

Australia Post needs to recruit almost 5000 workers to keep up with demand from people in locked down areas, with more than two million parcels being delivered each day. © ... Read more »

Covid cases plunge in NSW as the state reports 935 new Covid cases

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Millions of Sydneysiders are enjoying more freedoms as NSW recorded 935 new coronavirus cases and four deaths.  Residents trapped in a soul-crushing ultra-hard ... Read more »

Queensland hits 60 per cent for first doses as two COVID cases detected in quarantine

© Getty Annastacia Palaszczuk said Queensland had reached 59.77 per cent of people who had had a first dose of a vaccination. Queensland is believed to have reached the 60 ... Read more »

Brown close to AFL flag after torrent toil

It was on a miserable summer’s day in Tasmania that Melbourne recruit Ben Brown made a statement of intent, even before starting work at his new AFL club. © Michael ... Read more »

Further abuse claims against Tas nurse

© Ethan James/AAP PHOTOS A male nurse is accused of raping a then-17-year-old at the Launceston General Hospital in 2011. Two more alleged victims of an accused ped–hile nurse are ... Read more »

NRL star Anthony Milford is charged with allegedly bashing girlfriend

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Brisbane Broncos NRL star Anthony Milford has been arrested after an alleged assault in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane overnight on Monday. Milford, 27, was ... Read more »

Canberra won't follow NSW and Victoria out of lockdown

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo The ACT government says it does not feel under pressure to do more to ease its Covid-19 restrictions, with its larger NSW and ... Read more »

Manslaughter-accused carer stays on bail

The woman who cared for Adelaide cerebral palsy sufferer Ann Marie Smith has faced the Supreme Court for the first time after pleading guilty to her manslaughter. © PR HANDOUT ... Read more »

NRL playmaker to face assault charges

NRL star and Brisbane Broncos playmaker Anthony Milford has been charged with assault after an alleged disturbance in Fortitude Valley. © Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS Broncos player Anthony Milford is facing ... Read more »

Doctor blasts Covid modelling that will keep Melbourne in lockdown

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo One of Australia’s top doctors has slammed ‘overcautious’ modelling that could keep long suffering Melburnians in lockdown until November. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews ... Read more »

Victorian government needs to be prepared to press 'pause button' on COVID roadmap, AMA says

The Victorian government must be willing to press the “pause button” on steps in the state’s roadmap out of lockdown to prevent overwhelming the health system, the state’s branch of the Australian Medical Association ... Read more »

French to leverage 'hurt feelings' against US and Australia

The French will leverage their so-called hurt feelings with Washington and Canberra to get closer to the administration and call in some favours, according to Curtin University Professor Joe Siracusa. ... Read more »

Transurban takes full control of WestConnex in $11 billion deal

© Getty NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said on Monday morning that the state had finalised the sale to Sydney Transport Partners (STP). A consortium led by toll road giant Transurban ... Read more »

Australian Medical Assistance Team emergency vaccine response on home soil

© Provided by ABC Health The Australian Medical Assistance Team, or AUSMAT, is a crack team of emergency disaster responders who deploy overseas providing emergency humanitarian support during major disasters. ... Read more »

The Australian and international news stories you need to know today, Monday September 20.

© Getty Images The Australian and international news stories you need to know today, Monday September 20. Christian Porter resigns from Morrison ministry. Christian Porter has resigned as the federal ... Read more »

Hospital stress inevitable with reopening

Pressure on hospital systems is inevitable as states relax coronavirus restrictions, but an infectious diseases physician is hopeful a worse-case scenario can be avoided. © Darren England/AAP PHOTOS Businesses say ... Read more »

Back-to-basics classes lure all ages and abilities to cook, sew, and garden

© Provided by ABC Health Jason Edwards’s love for cooking is a passion and skill the 38-year-old eventually hopes to enjoy in his own kitchen. The central Queensland man, who ... Read more »