Teacher bailed ahead of exploitation trial

Cheryl Goodenough |

A suspended school teacher has been bailed on criminal charges involving children.
A suspended school teacher has been bailed on criminal charges involving children.

A former high school teacher and sports coach accused of a raft of child exploitation offences allegedly recorded a child and shared a picture he took of a student, a court has been told.

Lucas John Gill was arrested in July during a raid at his home in the Brisbane suburb of Chermside.

Police said at the time detectives went to the property after a tip-off and alleged the teacher had been accessing child exploitation material via an overseas website that has encrypted cloud storage.

They seized a laptop and a smartphone that police allege contained child exploitation material.

Gill was released on bail after his first appearance on six charges, but kept in custody when police charged him with dozens more offences that allegedly occurred prior to his arrest.

The 42-year-old was granted bail in Brisbane Magistrates Court on Friday after being in custody for seven months.

In opposing Gill’s bail application prosecutor Ryan Minuti said the alleged “quantum of offending” over a long period of time were concerning.

Gill faces nearly 100 charges including 61 counts of distributing child exploitation material.

Mr Minuti argued Gill’s conversations on a restricted app were protracted, of a sheer number and involved a large number number of people.

The allegations were also not only for online offending as there were identified victims, he said.

Some charges related to alleged child exploitation material made or procured during a Snapchat conversation and others involved a child allegedly recorded by Gill.

Mr Minuti told the court a picture Gill took of one of his students was distributed to several people on social media.

“In my submission the defendant’s offending goes beyond just internet offending and does break into the real world,” he added.

Gill’s lawyer Alan Phillips said the case against his client is strong and at first glance there is a “significant and concerning case” with alleged offences committed over about five years.

But he asked for Gill to be released on strict conditions that would reduce risks.

Magistrate Mark Nolan released Gill on conditions including he live with his mother, have no contact with anyone under the age of 18, have limited internet access, and take part in a sexual offending treatment program.

Gill was earlier committed to stand trial in the Brisbane District Court on a date to be confirmed.

He was stood down from his teaching position when arrested.