A person who produces, disseminates or possesses child abuse material or child pornography may face imprisonment for up to 10 years. The offence can be dealt with in either the Local Court or the District Court.

Many people actively search for pornographic images on the internet. Being in possession of such material is not an offence unless the image involves material that is prohibited by virtue of classification, or includes child abuse material or child pornography.

There are different levels of aggravation or seriousness of this type of offence – depending on the nature of the offending image – such as whether it is a sexual pose for example as compared to a violent sexual activity involving a child.

Regardless of the image, the penalties that can and often are imposed tend to be severe. A person found guilty of such an offence will also be placed on a Sexual Offender Register and be subject to restrictions on employment, place of residence etc. for a considerable period of time. They may be subject to monitoring including electronic location devices being worn.

One of the difficulties that a person searching out legal pornography on the internet may face is accidentally stumbling onto material that may constitute an offence or not realizing that the material may constitute an offence. Data may be stored on the computer, unwittingly or perhaps unknowingly, which could result in criminal charges.

We have successfully defended cases on the basis that the client did not have possession of the material, or that the material was not caught by the legislation.

Factors taken into account in determining whether material is offensive include the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults, the literary, artistic or educational merit (if any) of the material, the journalistic merit if applicable and the general character of the material (including whether it is of a medical, legal or scientific character).

Child pornography is a serious criminal offence with significant potential consequences if convicted. If you are the subject of this type of charge, or if your computer has been seized by police and is yet to be analysed, contact our accredited criminal law specialists for expert and confidential advice.