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
  • unlawful carnal knowledge.

Allegations of sexual offending are usually dealt with upon indictment in the District Court. Allegations of sexual offending are serious not only due to the significant penalties that are imposed by the courts if convicted, but also due to the social stigma that is routinely associated with such allegations. Allegations of a sexual offence require expert legal advice and serious consideration from the outset.

In many cases the only issue in dispute is whether the complainant consented to the physical contact by the alleged offender or in the case of a child complainant, that the alleged offender believed that the complainant was over the age of 16.

Often social media applications and mobile phones contain evidence crucial to mounting a successful defence, that can be forever lost if not immediately secured. It is therefore important that expert legal advice is sought by an alleged offender as soon as an allegation of a sexual offence becomes known, to ensure that any evidence is able to be identified, obtained and secured for later use.

When investigating offences of a sexual nature police routinely employ the use of a pre-text phone call.

A pre-text phone call is a recorded telephone call from a complainant to the alleged offender with the intention of obtaining admissions from the alleged offender which support the complaint. An alleged offender should treat any contact, particularly telephone calls from a potential complainant, with extreme caution if they are aware of the possibility that an allegation of a sexual offence may be made by the complainant. 

Expert legal advice sought be sought immediately on how to handle contact from a potential complainant.

The conduct of matters involving a sexual assault allegation always involve a number of vital tactical decisions to be made by a lawyer experienced in sexual offending crimes. 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.

At Gilshenan & Luton, we can provide you with expert legal advice, tailored to your particular set of circumstances.

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.

CEM offences are dealt with upon indictment in the District Court.

The courts consider CEM offences to be extremely serious and an accused person is at risk of imprisonment if convicted, no matter the quantity of CEM involved.

What is the Oliver scale?

While there is no statutory requirement to classify images, the Oliver scale is generally applied in Queensland courts for CEM cases. The Oliver scale enables an image to be categorised according to the nature of the activity depicted, ranging from erotic posing with no sexual activity, to cartoon drawings. 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 any penalty, including the risk of imprisonment.

Offenders requirements to report to police

Following the introduction of the Child Protection (Offender Reporting) Act 2004. offenders 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 legislation about reporting 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 expert legal advice, tailored to your particular set of circumstances.

Seeking legal advice early is critical

The steps that are taken immediately following charging, irrespective of whether the matter ultimately proceeds to a trial, can significantly improve the outcome for an accused. This includes ensuring that computers, data storage devices and internet usage, are forensically examined by an independent forensic computer expert. 

With our expertise in criminal law, we are uniquely positioned to advise you as to these matters.