Law on Revenge Porn & Image-Based Sexual Abuse in Australia

 

It is reported that a 25-year-old Nepalese man in Adelaide allegedly made threats to his former partner to disclose and share her intimate images and videos to her relatives and social media.

Police allege that he made threats to share her intimate images and videos onto social media and her relatives after he discovered that she married a man from the United Kingdom.

Police also allege that the intimate videos and images that he had possession of were in fact taken of her with her consent at the time they were both in a relationship.

Following the ending of their relationship, when his former partner married another man, he threatened to send the videos and images to her relatives and upload it to social media.

It’s alleged that during the threat, he allegedly told her that he could not be prosecuted by police due to not being an Australian Citizen and because she resided in England.

He also allegedly contacted her husband and showed him images of the intimate videos.

Commonwealth prosecutor Bonnie Russell told the court that he contacted the victim and again threatened to upload the intimate images.

Ms. Russell said, “Some of the screenshots have been sighted by authorities in the United Kingdom”.

“The victim is quite distressed about the situation”.

He was arrested by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) only after the UK authorities approached and notified the AFP in Australia.

The 25-year-old foreign national was arrested, and formally refused bail by the Adelaide Magistrates Court last Wednesday.

He has been charged with aggravated use of carriage service to harass, menace or cause offence in respect to distributing private sexual material.

Superintendent for the AFP, Ms. Gail McClure said, “This case shows that it does not matter where you live, the AFP is uniquely positioned with officers based around the world and with strong international networks, to investigate and prosecute crimes conducted across international borders.”

“Online threats of this nature can be devastating for victims, and the AFP encourages people who fall victim to these despicable acts to report the matter to police”.

Sextortion is generally a kind of blackmail involving threats to share images online unless certain demands are satisfied.

Ms. McClure said that such demands are usually either for money, further intimate images, sexual favours or revenge.

For more information on the law on this topic, our criminal lawyers are happy to discuss this further in a free consultation.

Law on Revenge Porn & Image-Based Sexual Abuse in Australia

Section 474.17 Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) prescribes a penalty of up to 3-years imprisonment by a District Court for using a carriage service in a way that reasonable persons would regard as being, in all the circumstances, menacing, harassing or offensive.

If the charge is dealt with in the Local Court, which is more common, the maximum penalty the Local Court can impose is up to 1-year imprisonment and/or fine of $12,600.

However, if the offender is a corporation, the maximum penalty fine is $63,000.

Relevant to the case outlined earlier, section 474.17A Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) prescribes a maximum penalty of 5-years imprisonment if a person:

  1. Uses a carriage service in a way that reasonable persons would regard as being in all the circumstances menacing, harassing or offensive; and
  2. The underlying offence involved the transmission, making available, publication, distribution, advertisement or promotion of material; and
  3. The material is considered to be private sexual material.

In summary, offensive is something that’s likely to cause significant anger, resentment, outrage, disgust or hatred in the mind of a reasonable person in all the circumstances. Offensive does not include conduct that merely wounds or hurts the feelings of the other person or alleged victim.

A carriage service here includes text, phone call, social media and emails according to section 7 Telecommunications Act 1997 (Cth).

What are some of the defences to a charge of revenge porn in Australia? Defences to a charge of revenge porn under commonwealth law include, where the person charged has a mental illness, behaved involuntarily, is not the perpetrator who did it, or did it under a necessity or duress.

The law and penalties on revenge porn for purposes of this blog is in respect of the law and penalties that apply under the Commonwealth law applying across all Australian states and territories.

Click here for an outline on the law on revenge porn that apply only in NSW.

About Jimmy Singh

Mr. Jimmy Singh is the Principal Lawyer at Criminal Defence Lawyers Australia - Leading Criminal Lawyers in Sydney, Delivering Exceptional Results in all Australian Criminal Courts.

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