On the first day of his District Court trial in Brisbane, 33-year-old Matthew Paul Hockley pleaded not guilty to two counts of child grooming and one count of using the internet to procure a child under 16.
During opening submissions, the prosecution told the court Mr Hockley was a serving senior constable at the Inala child protection and investigation unit in Brisbane’s south-west in 2019, when he interviewed the teenager in relation to an incident involving the sharing of explicit images of her and her ex-boyfriend.
Crown prosecutor Judy Geary said shortly after the interview, Mr Hockley had added the teenager on the social media application Snapchat, telling her who he was and adding that he wanted to “make sure she was being safe online” before sending her a photograph of himself.
The court heard the teenager had told her mother about the communication, who told her that it was “good” he had added her, and who later thanked the officer for “looking out” for her daughter.
Ms Geary said the prosecution would allege that over the course of several weeks, Mr Hockley sent a series of messages to the teenager that escalated from innocuous to a mostly sexual and inappropriate nature, and that the 15-year-old became “increasingly uncomfortable” with their communication.
On one occasion, Ms Geary told the court Mr Hockley, who would refer to the teenager as “cute” and “beautiful”, had sent her messages about “young girls” being sexually involved with “older men”.
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