Schoolgirl + naked photo = Child pornography

After reading a short entry in “The Heckler” opinion section of The Sunday Age on Sunday 27th February, entitled “Still life still out there” it is astonishing that there is either little regard for the law, a complete ignorance or general lack of understanding.

The article content, as follows:
“Meanwhile, a naked photograph purporting to be a self-portrait of the “St Kilda girl”… has started doing the rounds again…this time by email. One reporter who has interviewed the girl says it’s definitely not her. Another is not sure.”

Everyone is aware, this girl is 17-years-old. Therefore, people who email or possess the image are guilty of charges relating to child pornography. We are certain they have not thought about this issue but it seems extraordinary for one reporter to be so blithely admitting other reporter’s guilt of charges that are considered very seriously by the Courts.

Our firm recently represented a client who was given 6 months gaol in the Magistrates’ Court for possessing one image of a 15 year old. On appeal the sentence was reduced to a fine, however it does demonstrate how seriously these matters are viewed.

Increasingly, it is an issue confronting young people whose partners are under 18 – this is clearly an area where the community (as reflected by the Heckler) is clearly out of step with what the law actually states. How many of the public would know that you can have sex with a 16-year-old but not photograph her topless?

Check out Doogue O’Brien George’s Google+ profile here.

One response to “Schoolgirl + naked photo = Child pornography

  1. RE issue with young people; To some extent, there is at both State and Federal levels, provisions that address the act of sexting but is certainly by no means an adequate or satisfactory response to the growing issue.

    Sections 68-70 (inclusive) of the Crimes Act are drafted in manner that focuses on the act itself rather than the arena it takes place in or the means by which the offence is carried out. The relevant Criminal Code provisions on the other hand not only capture the acts deemed offensive (i.e. producing, procuring, possessing, etc.) but also considers the device/s utilized in the commission of the offending.

    However, the law makes no distinction between those intending to purposely exploit children and that of adolescent sexual curiosity and expression. The catch all provisions unfortunately end up consolidating all forms of offending regardless of the severity (e.g. teen girl sending nude photo of herself to teen boy) and render those individuals liable to Prosecution. Further the overlapping may cause conflict between the jurisdictions should either state or federal police choose not to prosecute and the other does.

    There needs to be some clear direction in how to handle these sorts of cases.

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