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My legal matter concerning an application for a Domestic Violence Order was managed by Mr Thomas Allen. I am grateful for the outcome he obtained. Without Mr Allen and his ongoing support, I would be certain of a different result. It has been an extremely stressful period. Mr Allen’s astute ability to liaise on my behalf and his expertise was invaluable and for which I am grateful as I am now able to move forward. Thanking you
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Armstrong Legal and specifically Mr Thomas Allen for representing me in my recent case. At the outset, I would like to thank Mr Allen for the very professional delivery of his legal service. From the first time that I met Mr Allen, I was very impressed with his demeanour and delivery as he made me feel at ease knowing the severity of my case. Mr Allen not only gave me the possible positive outcomes of the case but also the realisation of the worst-case scenario as far as sentencing goes. … I will certainly be recommending Armstrong Legal to any of my friends or family needing representation in criminal matters. Thank you so very much.
Thank you for your representation and help. Fingers crossed for the next step and parole. I just want to say that from the first phone call to your office, your service has been outstanding and have put my mind at ease. I am glad I picked your number to ring.
Thank you Armstrong Legal, the lawyers that have helped over the past 3 years but more importantly, thank you to Thomas Allen for the major part you and Mr Buckland played. Cannot thank you enough. Cheers.
Hi all. I would like to thank Ms Lisa Riley for all her help with my legal issues this past month. It was the most harrowing experience of my life and thanks to her expertise, professionalism and knowledge of the law, I came out almost unscathed. I have no hesitation in recommending Lisa Riley and Armstrong Legal if you need help. The service is amazing and the cost was very minimal for the great outcome. Thank you Lisa for helping me in the most difficult time.
I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. My whole life I was thrown away, you made me feel like I did mean something. I could not have asked for a better lawyer. Your compassion and love for your job is inspiring. Your upfront and honesty were muchly appreciated, you are a beautiful person. Thank you for not giving up on me and thank you for all the work you put in. I wish you all the best for the future and I will be recommending you to everyone I know. You're amazing!!!!
I just wanted to thank you for representing me on Monday, I was overjoyed & relieved with the outcome. I don’t think it could have gone any better. All the best, I hope you got to celebrate this one instead after work, you forever made a difference in my life.
I know I thanked you before we parted company but please allow me to reiterate in writing my sincere deepest thanks for defending me in court today. … Armstrong Legal certainly has a great Lawyer you are a credit to the company and I'm quite sure you will secure a very successful future! … My Kindest Regards and Thanks
Throughout Angela has been the consummate professional. She maintained a calm, yet strong demeanour remained informative and completely open in her communication and took complete ownership of the situation. We felt confident we finally had an advocate to steer us out of the nightmare we were in, and she did so with great respect and sincerity. I cannot speak more highly of Angela. She has literally rescued our family from what looked very much like a hopeless future.
Words can’t describe how grateful I am to Trudie Cameron being my solicitor and to Andrew Tiedt presenting my case in the court. They both have been very supportive and amazingly professional and effective. I’ve got an absolutely fantastic outcome I couldn’t even dream about.
Soon after meeting Andrew I knew he was the solicitor I wanted to handle my matter. He immediately sprang into action which brought me stability and hope during a tumultuous time in my life. Andrew was never afraid to give me straight answers to my tough questions which is a true mark of integrity. He is clearly at ease in the court environment and I believe his calm and measured demeanour went a long way to helping me secure the best result from my day in court. I would certainly recommend you approach Andrew if you need assistance.
"Andrew Tiedt was very professional and considerate to personal circumstances and gave sound advice that resulted in the best outcome possible. Highly recommended."
Child Abuse Material Offences (Vic)
In Victoria, a person can be found guilty of possession of child abuse material under either Victorian legislation or under Commonwealth legislation. Possession can consist of physical possession of photos or discs or it can consist of using the internet to access an online storage location where the material has been saved and is being controlled by the offender. This article outlines the state and federal child abuse material offences that a person in Victoria can be charged with.
Offences relating to child abuse material are very serious and commonly attract an immediate term of imprisonment. However, non-custodial sentences are sometimes imposed where there are significant subjective circumstances that demonstrate that the offender should not be imprisoned.
What is child abuse material?
In Victoria, the Crimes Act 1958 the phrase ‘child abuse material’ refers to what was formerly known as child pornography. The new terminology has broadened the scope of what material is covered.
Section 51A of the Crimes Act 1958 defines ‘child abuse material’ as material that depicts or describes a person who is, appears to be under 18:
- as a victim of torture, cruelty, physical abuse or sexual abuse; or
- engaged in or appears to be engaging in a sexual pose or sexual activity; or
- in the presence of another person who is or appears to be engaged in a sexual pose or sexual activity; or
- shows the person’s genital or anal region or the breast area of a female
and which a reasonable person would regard as being, in the circumstances, offensive.
Under Commonwealth legislation, offences relating to this sort of material are divided into the two categories of ‘child abuse material’ and ‘child pornography material’ but cover the same sort of material. Under Victorian’ legislation, these two categories of material are combined in a single category.
What is the offence?
Section 51G of the Crimes Act 1958 contains Victorian child abuse material offences and specifies that a person commits a criminal offence if they knowingly possess child abuse material. It is not necessary for the accused to have physical possession of electronic files. The offence may consist of having access to material as long as the person can control the access to that material. The maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment.
It is also a criminal offence in Victoria to access child abuse material (section 51H), to produce child abuse material (section 51C), to distribute child abuse material (section 51D) to administer a website used to deal with such material (section 51E) or to encourage use of a website used to deal with such material (section 51F).
Under Commonwealth legislation, there is an offence of using a carriage service to access child pornography material. This offence is contained in Section 474.19 of the Criminal Code Act 1995. Under this provision, a person can be prosecuted for
- Accessing material; or
- Sending material to oneself; or
- Transmitting, making available, publishing, distributing, advertising or promoting material; or
- Soliciting material.
The maximum penalty for this offence is imprisonment for 15 years.
What if I am charged with multiple offences?
It is common for a person who is apprehended with child abuse material to be charged with offences under both the Commonwealth and Victorian legislation or with more than one offence under the Victorian legislation. This is because it is common that the internet (a carriage service) is used to access the material and for the material to then be downloaded, leading to charges of possession of the material as well as of accessing the material. However, there are subtle differences between the two pieces of legislation that allow for multiple charges to be pursued.
The Commonwealth legislation prohibits the movement of child abuse material around online. These offences are designed to target the market for child abuse material through its circulation over the internet. The Victorian legislation is focused on possession of the material either physically or through online storage mediums.
There is significant overlap between different child abuse material offences; however, the courts take this overlap into account when they provide separate sentences for each charge, but they also take in to account the principles of ‘totality and parsimony’. This is the sentencing consideration that the penalties should be no more severe than is necessary for the whole course of offending behaviour.
In some circumstances, the defence may be able to negotiate with prosecutions for one or more child abuse material charges to be withdrawn if the offender pleads guilty to the other.
What factors are taken into account at sentencing?
A sentencing judge will take into account both objective and subjective factors.
The objective factors a court will consider include:
- That these sorts of offences are serious and general deterrence is of primary consideration;
- The nature and content of the material and the nature of the sexual activity depicted;
- The number of items, images or videos possessed;
- Whether the material was possessed for sale or further distribution; and
- How long the person possessed the material for.
The subjective factors that are taken into account include:
- The offender’s age;
- The offender’s mental health if there is evidence in psychologist reports;
- Prior good character or prior criminal history;
- The offender’s education and upbringing;
- Any other personal circumstances that the court considers relevant.
Registration as a Sex Offender
Under the Sex Offender Registration Act, offences relating to child pornography are Class 2 offences. Persons found guilty must report their details to police and keep police informed of their address, employment details and other matters specified under the legislation. The period that a person must comply with these requirements depends on the number of offences they were found guilty of but is often 8 or 15 years, which can extend to life in extreme cases.
Being on the Sex Offenders Registry can have a drastic effect on a person’s life and can prohibit them from doing certain types of work and other activities.
What should I do if I am charged?
If you are contacted by the Victoria Police or the Australian Federal Police in relation to any of the above offences, you should contact a solicitor at the earliest opportunity.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter please contact Armstrong Legal.
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