SEXUAL OFFENCES / CHILD PORNOGRAPHY OFFENCES

SEXUAL OFFENCES / CHILD PORNOGRAPHY OFFENCES

Sexual Offences

Sexual offences can generally be categorised as unlawful assaults of a sexual nature and include offences such as:

  • Rape;
  • Sexual Assaults;
  • Indecent Treatment of Children;
  • Maintaining a Sexual Relationship with a Child; and
  • Carnal Knowledge;


 

It is said that allegations of this kind are easily made and difficult to defend.  They carry severe penalties; up to life imprisonment for the most serious of this category of offences.

Often times there is no “direct evidence” and a defence of the case comes down to a “he said / she said” scenario. In matters such as this, credit can be a central issue and the success or failure of a defence may hinge on what actions are undertaken very early – often before a charge is even laid.

Such cases always involve a number of vital tactical decisions to be made upon expert legal advice.  For example, deciding whether to participate in an interview with police, or applying to cross examine a witness at a committal hearing, may be crucial to the ultimate success of the defence case.

That said, many charges of a sexual nature ultimately proceed to sentence upon a plea of guilty. Should the decision be made to plead guilty there are numerous factors that require serious consideration – and this is particularly important in relation to charges of a sexual nature.

Child Pornography (or Child Exploitation Material) Offences

Offences of this type include possessing, producing, and distributing child exploitation material (“CEM”).  With increased law enforcement attention, and the sophistication of law enforcement techniques, this type of charge is becoming increasingly common.

The courts consider CEM offences to be extremely serious, and an accused person is at risk of imprisonment if convicted in all cases, no matter the quantity of CEM involved. As such, conducting matters of this kind involves careful consideration as to whether or not to mount a defence to the charge, and if not, what steps need to be taken to minimise the risk of imprisonment.

If defending a charge of this kind, it may be necessary for the evidence – such as computers, data storage devices, and internet usage, to be forensically examined by an independent forensic computer expert.

If pleading guilty, the difference between going to jail or not can depend on the steps that are taken immediately following charging.  With our expertise in criminal law, we are uniquely positioned to advise you as to these matters.

Since 2005, persons convicted of serious offences against children are likely to be required to report to police for a lengthy period after they are sentenced or released from jail.  These persons are required to keep police informed of their whereabouts and certain personal details for a particular period, and the information is kept on a register by law enforcement authorities.  The said purpose of the reporting obligations is primarily to protect children, but also to assist the police in apprehending offenders.

The majority of persons sentenced for serious offences against children will need to report to the police.  However, the Act is complex, and each case will need to be examined carefully to determine whether there is a need to report and how long for.  We can provide you with specific legal advice, tailored to your particular set of circumstances.