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Sydney barman Andrew Hayler jailed after sharing images of digitally altered women on porn site

Sydney barman Andrew Hayler jailed after sharing images of digitally altered women on porn site

Sydney barman Andrew Hayler jailed after sharing images of digitally altered women on porn site

A Sydney bartender who uploaded digitally altered images of dozens of women he knew to a pornography website has been sentenced to nine years in jail.

Andrew Thomas Hayler, 38, was sentenced in the New South Wales District Court on Friday on 28 counts of using a carriage service to offend.

In reaching her decision, Judge Jane Culver said she had placed “great emphasis” on general deterrence and agreed with the Crown’s assertion that Hayler’s conduct was a “vivid and dangerous illustration” of the way that violence can be perpetrated online.

Hayler was jailed with a non-parole period of five and a half years.

A bearded man being interviewed outside the court

Between July 2020 and August 2022, Andrew Thomas Hayler uploaded hundreds of photographs of 26 women to a now-defunct pornography website.(ABC News)

Between July 2020 and August 2022, Hayler uploaded hundreds of photographs of 26 women to a now-defunct pornography website, along with graphic descriptions of rapes and violent assaults.

It also included identifying details such as their full names, occupations and links to their social networks.

The women he targeted included former housemates and colleagues, some of whom considered him a “close friend.”

‘You have to live with what has been done’

Hannah Grundy alerted police after receiving an anonymous tip in an email that photographs of her were circulating on the now-defunct website.

“When I first went to the police three years ago, it was like they had no idea what to do with this,” he said outside court.

“But in the last three years it has become… a very widespread problem.

“I’ve seen this type of behavior brewing in our community, so it was a battle I was willing to take on.”

Anna Healy, a former close friend of Hayler, said she had only just begun to process the outcome.

“The sentence may have been passed, but we are going to have to live with what they did to us for the rest of our lives.”

A smiling woman with blonde hair outside the courthouse.

Anna Healy says she will live with what Hayler did for the rest of her life.(ABC News: Ethan Rix )

Lucy Bollinger, who worked with Hayler as a waitress when she was a college student, said she tried, unsuccessfully, to have the photos he posted of her removed.

“They’re out there forever, there’s nothing I can do to stop it,” he said.

“(The sentence) is long but I think he deserves it, he deserves everything.”

Nicola Henry, a professor at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology with more than 25 years’ experience in the area of ​​sexual violence, called the sentence “unprecedented.”

“There have been very few cases before the courts related to abuse based on deepfake images,” he said.

“Andrew Hayler’s case is unprecedented as it is the first time someone has been charged with sharing digitally altered intimate images, or ‘deepfake pornography’, under Commonwealth telecommunications law.

“Therefore, there is no precedent in terms of sentencing.”

The offense had a “high degree of recklessness”

Many of the women Hayler targeted told the ABC they had been warned they were unlikely to receive a prison sentence.

A group of them arrived at the sentencing together and comforted each other as the judge read excerpts of Hayler’s violent and degrading language.

A gasp was heard in the courtroom as Judge Culver read the sentence.

She described Hayler’s offending as having a “high degree of recklessness” and criticized his claim that he “didn’t see it as real-world harm… just online harm.”

Anna Healy, Jess Stuart, Hannah Grundy and Lucy Bollinger hug outside court

Left to right: Anna Healy, Jess Stuart, Hannah Grundy and Lucy Bollinger were among the 26 women affected by Hayler’s offending.(ABC News: Ruby Cornish)

The case comes amid a rise in the number of cases involving the uploading of sexually explicit and digitally altered images online without consent.

Judge Culver described Hayler’s case as an “appropriate vehicle for general deterrence.”

“There is a terrible risk that people accessing these websites will somehow normalize the incredibly offensive comments and images displayed,” he said, noting the potential for “widespread and ongoing harm.”

The court was told Hayler’s offending began in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic at a time of “reduced employment” and arose from a combination of boredom and substance abuse.

A psychological evaluation described him viewing pornography excessively from a young age and having an increasing focus on “rough sex and domination.”

The report says Hayler uploaded photos of the women to compensate for feelings of sexual inferiority and diagnosed her with an “unspecified paraphilic disorder.”

It also placed him at “above average risk” for sexual recidivism.

Judge Culver said there was evidence of “some contrition” and acknowledged that Hayler was participating in a rehabilitation program, but said she believed there was “still work to do (for him) to gain a full view of the offending.”

Hayler will be eligible for parole in December 2029.

Aware , updated