This article was written by Michelle Makela - Legal Practice Director

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (state and federal industrial tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

Possessing Child Pornography

In Victoria, possessing child pornography carries a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment. The offence of possessing child pornography is contained in section 70 of the Crimes Act.

What is Child Pornography?

Child pornography is defined by section 67A of the Crimes Act as a film, photograph, publication or computer game that describes or depicts a person who is, or appears to be, a minor engaging in sexual activity or depicted in an indecent sexual manner or context.

What the Police Must Prove

To find a person guilty of possessing child pornography, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • They had in their possession a film, photograph, publication or computer game
  • That describes or depicts a person who is (or appears to be) a minor engaging in sexual activity or in an indecent manner
  • That they intentionally had the material in their possession

Possible Defences for Possessing Child Pornography

Possible defences to a possessing child pornography charge include:

  • The material possesses artistic merit
  • The material is for a genuine medical, legal, scientific or educational purpose
  • The material was or would have a classification other than X or X 18+, and has not been refused classification (RC)
  • That you believed on reasonable grounds the minor was 18 or older
  • That you are the minor depicted in the material

What Court will Hear this Matter?

The matter is an indictable offence meaning it is usually heard in the County or Supreme Court, however it can be heard summarily in the Magistrates’ Court.

Commonwealth offences

It is also an offence under Commonwealth law to possess child-abuse or child-pornography material outside Australia. The maximum penalty for this offence is 15 years imprisonment.

The maximum penalty is 25 years if the conduct involves three or more occasions and two or more young people.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.


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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