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Do You Need A Specialist Indecent Images Lawyer?
Have you been accused of possessing, making or distributing indecent images of children? If so, you need to speak with an independent indecent images lawyer who has experience in handling cases of this sensitive nature. Our non-judgmental team is on hand 24/7 to assist you through this traumatic time of your life.
We appreciate the impact that cases of this nature can potentially have on your mental health, livelihood, relationships and liberty. It is not uncommon for indecent image cases to take a year or longer from the police investigation stage to court proceedings, but we will be there to support and guide you through this process.
Please call us on our 24-hour line of 0800 2335822 and discuss your case in the strictest of confidence.
What Is Classed As Indecent Images?
The legislation is covered by both the Protection of Children Act 1978 and the Criminal Justice Act 1988.
An indecent image offence is committed if a suspect possesses, makes or distributes an indecent image of a child under 18 years of age. Some people believe this age is 16, which is the age of consent for sexual relationships.
Indecent images can also extend to images of animals, which can be classified as extreme pornography.
What Are The Categories Of Indecent Images?
Indecent images of children are categorised into three categories from A (serious) to C (less serious).
- Category A – Explicit images involving penetration, sexual activity with an animal or sadism.
- Category B – Explicit images that are non-penetrative sexual activity.
- Category C – Explicit images involving erotic posing.
Defences Are Available For Indecent Image Offences
Suppose you have a ‘legitimate reason’ for having such indecent images in your possession. In that case, you will have to satisfy the court that this is part of academic research studies and/or if you are a legal professional researching the law as part of their everyday job.
A ‘lack of knowledge’ of the indecent image being of a child is a defence in that the suspect had not seen or was unaware of its presence on a digital device or had no reason to believe that it was indecent. The court will have to be satisfied that the suspect did not have the knowledge element to commit this offence.
The image was sent to a suspect without any prior warning, and it was not kept for an unreasonable time. An example could be receiving an email with an attachment and, once realising the contents, deleting it immediately.
It is important to understand that even if an image is deleted does not automatically provide a defence as the court will have to consider a number of factors.
Can The Police Search My Home For Digital Devices?
The police will usually obtain a warrant from the court, which they will execute at the suspect’s last known address and/or addresses that they associate with.
The police can also search any premises under s32 of the police and criminal evidence act (PACE) 1984 upon arrest or under s18 (PACE) if in custody and authorised by an officer of the rank of inspector or above.
Either way, electronic devices are likely to be seized in connection with an allegation such as indecent images. The time it takes to analyse devices can vary case by case and can be determined by a number of factors.
How Long Do Indecent Image Police Investigations Take?
A police investigation can take anything between 6 months to 2 years, which will be from the point of the interview to a discontinuance of the case or a charge to appear at court. The main delay in cases of this sensitive nature is due to forensic evidence of digital devices needing looking into.
What Are The Culpability Criteria At Sentencing?
There are a number of factors for the court to take into consideration with determining a level of culpability.
- The number of images and what category.
- The age of the subject featured in such images.
- The vulnerability of the subject featured.
- The amount of pain or distress caused.
Court Sentencing Guidelines For Indecent Image Offences
Penalties can range from community orders to a prison sentence of up to 10 years. You are also required to be on the sex offender’s register.
When custodial sentences are indicated, the courts have the power to suspend custodial sentences of up to two years. You can also be given a reduction of up to one third on your sentence by pleading guilty at your earliest opportunity. This is not to be confused with making admissions in an interview. You must take legal advice on that course.
In a case of making or possessing indecent images:
- Category A – Images have a starting point of 12 months of custody.
- Category B – Images have a starting point of 6 months of custody.
- Category C – Images have a starting point of a high-level community order.
In a case of the distribution of indecent images:
- Category A – Images have a starting point of 3 years of custody.
- Category B – Images have a starting point of 12 months of custody.
- Category C – Images have a starting point of 13 weeks of custody.
In a case of producing indecent images:
- Category A – Images have a starting point of 6 years of custody.
- Category B – Images have a starting point of 2 years of custody.
- Category C – Images have a starting point of 18 months of custody.
Our Frequently Asked Questions
"Mr Stephen Bunker was extremely supportive and helpful during this stressful time, and he ensured that I received a ‘no further action result’ after my voluntary interview. He made sure I was well prepared beforehand and went above and beyond to ensure he was well equipped to advise me. Hopefully will never have to use his services again, but if ever needed, I know exactly who I will call first."