Dealings with child pornography, called both child exploitation material (CEM) or child abuse material (CAM) by the legal system, can give rise to a number of different offences. Persons who possess, disseminate, or produce CEM may find themselves charged with offences at the state level. Where CAM is accessed or disseminated via a carriage service like the Internet, persons may be charged under federal law. While the precise legislation may differ, in either case the penalties are serious.
Charges almost always require the prosecution to prove what accused persons knew or believed about the material. The role of computers and the internet in these offences can make this a subtle and difficult task, sometimes giving rise to defences.
In certain circumstances, law enforcement is entitled to compel accused persons to provide access to electronic devices or internet accounts. Knowing precisely what is required is a matter of expert advice. The wrong decision can lead to further charges.
The law has developed so as to set a clear sentencing standard. Unless there is some unusual or exceptional feature of the offending itself or the accused’s personal circumstances, the community expects a sentence of imprisonment to be served.
That is not to say that all offences involving CEM or CAM are the same. The material itself is categorised with reference to what it depicts. Features such as the volume of material, the length of time over which it was accessed, whether or not a person profited financially, and whether or not it involved contact offending with children all form part of an assessment as to the seriousness of the offending.
The complexity of these offences as well as the seriousness of community expectations mean that persons charged need to begin preparations from the moment of their arrest. Early and targeted treatment with a suitable psychologist is usually a critical part of this preparation. An unprepared accused cannot expect a lenient sentence.
At Woods and Co, we take seriously the obligation to deal with your matters seriously, proactively, discretely, and in a way that ensures the best possible outcome is available to you. We will work beside you to ensure that you have the benefit of any defence available to you at law. Where there isn’t one, you can be sure that your advocate will take every possible step to ensure the penalty imposed is a fair one.
If you have been charged or believe you might be charged, there is no time to waste. Call us to make an appointment today at 8311 3111.
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