12:30PM: A BORDER high school teacher has been denied an order suppressing his identifying details during an appearance in Albury Local Court this morning on grooming charges.
Paul Edward Mills, 45, of Thurgoona, appeared before magistrate Megan Greenwood on four charges of using a carriage service to send indecent material to a person under the age of 16 and two charges of using a carriage service to procure a person under the age of 16 for sexual activity.
It was the first mention of the case after Mills was arrested and charged last month, following a tip-off from detectives in America.
The trigger for the NSW investigation was a report submitted to the NSW National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children regarding a man having an “inappropriate conversation” with a 15-year-old girl in Illinois in May.
Mills’ home was last month raided by police as part of Strike Force Trawler, a child exploitation internet unit investigation into the sexual abuse and exploitation of children through the internet and telecommunications devices.
Police seized a number of items for forensic testing including computer equipment.
Solicitor Jason Hanke made application on Mills’ behalf for an non-publication order.
Ms Greenwood said while the law prohibiting the identification of victims sometimes meant the accused could not be identified, she did not believe that was the situation in this case.
“The law is quite clear that proceedings must be conducted in a public manner unless there is good reason for them not to be,” she said.
“Proceedings must be conducted in a transparent manner and it is in the interests of justice that the community understand what goes on in these proceedings.
“I decline to make a non-publication order today.”
Ms Greenwood also rejected an application for an interim non-publication order.
She granted an application from Mr Hanke for a variation of Mills’ bail undertaking.
He is now required to report to Albury police three times a week.
Mills will return to court on November 5.