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Premises used for child prostitution

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Contact Armstrong Legal:
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555

John Sutton

In NSW an act of child prostitution in a premises over which a person has control is an offence.

A person can be charged with this offence if they have control over the premises the act is occurring in, either by being an owner, lease holder, licensee or resident at the premises.

A person can defend the matter by attempting to satisfy the court that they did not know about the act or did not know that one or more of the persons engaging in the act of prostitution was a child.

The maximum penalty for this offence is 7 years imprisonment.

THE OFFENCE OF PREMISES USED FOR CHILD PROSTITUTION:

The offence of Premises used for Child Prostitution is contained in s 91F of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) and states:

  • Any person who is capable of exercising lawful control over premises at which a child participates in an act of child prostitution is liable to imprisonment for 7 years.
  • For the purposes of this section, each person:
    • who is an owner, lessee, licensee or occupier of premises,
    • who is concerned in the management of premises or in controlling the entry of persons to, or their movement within, premises,

is to be considered as capable of exercising lawful control over the premises, whether or not any other person is capable of exercising lawful control over the premises.

  • A person is not guilty of an offence under this section relating to an act of child prostitution if the person satisfies the court:
    • that the person did not know about the act, or
    • that the person did not know that a child was participating in the act or, for any other reason, did not know that the act was an act of child prostitution, or
    • that the person used all due diligence to prevent the child from participating in the act.

WHAT ACTIONS MIGHT CONSTITUTE PREMISES USED FOR CHILD PROSTITUTION?

Examples of Premises used for Child Prostitution include:

  • The licensee of a strip club allowing a fifteen year old to perform sexual acts for customers;
  • The owner of a house allowing men to come to the house and pay to have sex with their twelve year old daughter; and
  • A resident in a share house pretending not to notice a housemate who allows a homeless teenage boy to stay in his room in exchange for oral sex.

WHAT THE POLICE MUST PROVE:

To convict you of Premises used for Child Prostitution the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond reasonable doubt:

  • That you were in control of a licensed premises; and
  • That an act of child prostitution occurred in the premises.

POSSIBLE DEFENCES FOR PREMISES USED FOR CHILD PROSTITUTION:

The most common ways to defend this charge are:

  • To maintain your innocence if you did not commit the act;
  • To argue that you were not in control of the licensed premises;
  • To argue that an act of child prostitution did not occur in the premises;
  • To argue that you did not know an act of child prostitution occurred in the premises;
  • To argue that you did not know the person involved was a child;
  • To argue that did not know the act that occurred was one involving child prostitution; or
  • To raise necessity or duress as the reason for your conduct.

WHICH COURT WILL HEAR YOUR MATTER?

The offence is strictly indictable and can only be finalised in the District or Supreme Court.


Types of penalties:

Section 10 for a premises used for child prostitution charge: avoiding a criminal record. Normally, when you plead guilty to a criminal offence, the court imposes a penalty and records a conviction. If the court records a conviction, you will have a criminal record. However, if we can convince the court not to convict you, there will be no penalty of any type and no criminal record. In all criminal cases, the court has the discretion not to convict you, but to give you a Section 10 dismissal instead. Read more.

Fines for a premises used for child prostitution charge: When deciding the amount of a fine for a premises used for child prostitution charge the magistrate or judge should consider your financial situation and your ability to pay any fine they set. Read more.

Good behaviour bond for a premises used for child prostitution charge: This is an order of the court that requires you to be of good behaviour for a specified period of time. The court will impose conditions that you will have to obey during the term of the good behaviour bond. The maximum duration of a good behaviour bond is five years. Read more.

Community service order for a premises used for child prostitution charge. (CSO): This involves either unpaid work in the community at a place specified by probation and parole or attendance at a centre to undertake a course, such as anger management. In order to be eligible for a CSO you have to be assessed by an officer of the probation service as suitable to undertake the order. Read more.

Suspended sentence for a premises used for child prostitution charge: This is a jail sentence that is suspended upon you entering into a good behaviour bond. Provided the terms of the good behaviour bond are obeyed the jail sentence will not come into effect. A suspended sentence is only available for sentences of imprisonment of up to two years. Read more.

Periodic detention for a premises used for child prostitution charge (commonly known as weekend detention): This form of imprisonment ceased to be a sentencing option in October 2010.

Intensive correction order for a premises used for child prostitution charge (ICO): This option has replaced periodic detention. The court can order you to comply with a number of conditions, such as attending counselling or treatment, not consuming alcohol, complying with a curfew and performing community service. Read more.

Jail for a premises used for child prostitution charge: This is the most serious penalty for the charge of premises used for child prostitution and involves full time detention in a correctional facility. Read more.


where to next?

If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.

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