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US marshals to take WA child abuse accused

AAP logoAAP 29/12/2016

A Perth man is expected to be extradited to the US within days to face child abuse charges, but his lawyer fears he could die in a prison for a crime that would only carry a short jail sentence if he were convicted in Australia.

Christopher Donald Lobban, 58, is accused of encouraging his online girlfriend in Florida to send him images of two children, aged 14 and 15, being spanked and whipped.

He was arrested and detained in July 2011 after a raid on his property, and Lobban has now exhausted his legal avenues to appeal the extradition order after his final bid in the High Court failed.

If convicted of the child exploitation charges, Lobban faces a minimum jail term of 25 years, with no possibility of parole, as it was abolished in Florida in 1983.

His lawyer Bernard Collaery said on Thursday that his client had offered to face trial in Australia and had already spent more than five years behind bars, which was longer than the sentence he would have received had he been convicted in Perth.

He described the mandatory prison term as inhumane and said the sheriff in Polk County had publicly stated Lobban would not leave a US jail alive.

Mr Collaery expects Lobban to be handed over to US federal marshals in Sydney on January 2 and questioned the timing during the holiday season when the public was "distracted" by festivities.

He has urged the Australian government to step in and stop the extradition.

"Our relationship with the US is robust enough for Australia to say that we won't extradite people in these circumstances," he told AAP.

The woman, who worked within the prison system in Polk County, was jailed for about 20 years after a plea bargain on charges of aggravated child abuse, lewd or lascivious battery and using a child in a sexual performance.

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