Child exploitation material
Possessing or distributing child abuse and exploitation material is a high-priority area for law enforcement. Prosecutions for these offences are increasing.
In Queensland, child pornography material is defined as “material that, in a way likely to cause offence to a reasonable adult, describes or depicts a person, or a representation of a person, who is, or apparently is, a child under 16 years:
- in a sexual context, including for example, engaging in sexual activity
- in an offensive or demeaning context
- being subjected to abuse, cruelty or torture.”
‘Material’ includes videos, photographs, drawings, words, stories and cartoons. The persons depicted may be real or fictional.
Under Queensland law, a ‘child’ is a person under 16 years of age but under Commonwealth law, a ‘child’ is a person under 18 years of age.
In Queensland, an accused person must serve a sentence of actual imprisonment unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Defending child exploitation material charges can be stressful.
Due to the nature of the accusation, it is often difficult for accused persons to reveal their legal situation to friends and family members.
As most cases involve forensic evidence, there may be significant delays by the police in providing the brief of evidence to the defence.
Possible defences to the charge include that:
- an accused person did not knowingly possess child exploitation material
- the images in question do not meet the definition of child exploitation material
- the images were created or distributed for legitimate artistic or scientific purposes.
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