What are the Penalties for Possessing or Producing Child Abuse Material or Child Pornography?

 

A 43-year-old man from NSW has been arrested and charged for a string of sexual offences reported to have been committed between 2011 to 2017.

Dean Anthony Sellenthin from Bangalow, NSW is alleged to have committed some horrendous sexual offences, including the possession and production of child abuse material, indecent assault of a disabled person, stealing the underwear of woman and children, and stalking.

The charges regarding child abuse material are alleged to have occurred in surrounding areas of Byron Bay, NSW.

He is reported to have stolen about 48 pairs of underwear and swimwear belonging to women and children from one location, plus a further 37 from another location.

Other charges include 19 counts of bestiality acts on dogs. This includes allegations that he had sex with a golden retriever many times, in addition to about two hundred other charges over a 7-year period.

Amongst the charges he faces, he is also charged with entering a dwelling to commit an indictable offence, allegedly for the purpose of recording people in private.

After appearing at the Tweed Heads Local Court on Wednesday 20 March this year, his matter was adjourned to another court date to 17 April 2019.

He has been formally bail refused and currently in custody on remand since his arrest in 2017.

What are the Penalties for Producing or Possessing Child Abuse Material or Child Pornography?

Possessing or producing child abuse material is a crime prohibited by the state of NSW and the Commonwealth of Australia. This blog will outline the law and penalties under the Commonwealth law which applies nationwide.

Section 474.23 and section 474.20 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth) carries a maximum penalty of up to 15-years imprisonment to anyone who possesses, controls, produces, supplies or obtains child pornography material or child abuse material if that person does so with the intention that the material be used by him/her (or another person) in doing any of the following with a carriage service:

  • Accessing it;
  • Transmitting it;
  • Making it available;
  • Publishing it;
  • Distributing it;
  • Advertising or promoting it; or
  • Soliciting it.

 

What is ‘Child Pornography’?

‘Child pornography material’ is defined in section 473.1 Criminal Code 1995 (Clth) as:

  1. Any material depicting a person, or representing a person, who at least appears to be under the age of 18 years who:
    • Is engaging or appears to be engaging in a sexual pose or sexual activity in a way that reasonable persons would consider as being offensive in all the circumstances; or
    • Is in the presence of someone else engaging in or appearing to engage in a sexual pose or sexual activity in a way that reasonable persons would consider as being offensive in all the circumstances; or
  2. Any material which has a dominant characteristic to depict any of the following for a sexual purpose:
    • A sexual organ or anal region of someone who at least appears to be under the age of 18-years in a way that reasonable persons would consider as being offensive in all the circumstances; or
    • A representation of such a sexual organ or anal region in a way that reasonable persons would consider as being offensive in all the circumstances; or
    • The breasts of a female person who at least appears to be under the age of 18-years in a way that reasonable persons would consider as being offensive in all the circumstances; or
  3. Any material describing someone who is or is implied to be under the age of 18-years who does any of the following in a way that reasonable persons would consider as being offensive in all the circumstances:
    • Engaging in a sexual pose or sexual activity; or
    • Is in the presence of someone else who is engaged in a sexual pose or sexual activity; or
  4. Any material describing any of the following in a way that reasonable persons would consider as being offensive in all the circumstances:
    • A sexual organ or anal region of another person who is at least implied to be under the age of 18-years; or
    • The breasts of a female who is at least implied to be under the age of 18-years.

 

What is ‘Child Abuse Material’?

Similarly, section 473.1 Criminal Code 1995 (Clth) also defines ‘child abuse material’ as any material that depicts someone (or a representation of someone) who at least appears to be under the age of 18-years who appears to be a victim of either torture, cruelty or physical abuse in such a way that reasonable person would regard it as being offensive in all the circumstances.

Child abuse material also includes material that described someone who is at least implied to be under the age of 18-years who is implied to be a victim of torture, cruelty or physical abuse in such a way that reasonable persons would regard it as being offensive in all the circumstances.

 

What is a ‘Carriage Service’?

A carriage service is defined under section 7 Telecommunications Act 1997 (Clth) as a service for carrying communications by means of guided and/or unguided electromagnetic energy. This can include a computer, phone, or tablet.

What are the Defences to a Charge of Possessing or Producing Child Abuse Material or Child Pornography?

If any of the following defences to this charge apply to you, your charge will be dismissed in court, and you will be acquitted:

  1. You committed this offence for public benefit, and it doesn’t extend beyond a public benefit.
    • Conduct will be considered a public benefit only if it was necessary for or of assistance in enforcing a commonwealth or state law; or for monitoring compliance with or investigating a breach of the law; or the administration of justice; or for conducting scientific, medical or educational research approved by the AFP Minister in writing.
  2. You committed this offence in the course of duties as a law enforcement officer, intelligence or security officer and your conduct in doing this was reasonable in the circumstances for the purpose of performing this duty.
  3. You commit this offence while engaging in such conduct in good faith for the purpose of assisting the eSafety Commissioner to detect prohibited content or potential of such content in the performance of the commissioner’s functions.
  4. You commit this offence while engaging in such conduct in good faith for the purpose of manufacturing or developing or updating content filtering technology.

Click here for details on what are the ‘Consequences of Being Convicted of a Child Sex Offence?’.

For any questions, our specialist criminal defence lawyers are available for a free initial consultation.

We have experienced criminal defence lawyers in Newcastle, Wollongong, Penrith, and Sydney city CBD. We are available 24/7.

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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