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Possessing child exploitation material

Potts Lawyers > Possessing child exploitation material

Offences: Possessing child exploitation material

Court:  District Court

Maximum Penalty: 15 years imprisonment for possessing child exploitation.

Solicitors:  Sinead Garland

Date: October 2020

Our client owned two laptops. One of the laptops was a new model laptop, that our client used for his studies. The second laptop, which was an older model laptop, was kept by our client so that members of his church could borrow the laptop and prepare audio-visual presentations for Christian Camp.

As a member of the church, our client regularly lent his second laptop to other church members. One weekend when our client’s laptop was being used by a member of the church, our client’s friend found child exploitation material contained in the trash folder of the laptop and reported the matter to Police.

The Police then obtained a search warrant and searched our client’s home for both laptops. During the search, the Police located both laptops and found that there was child exploitation material contained on one of the laptops. Our client was subsequently charged with possessing child exploitation material.

Our client then engaged Ms Garland to assist him. Ms Garland wrote a submission to the Prosecution seeking that the charge of possessing child exploitation material be withdrawn against our client. Ms Garland noted that the Prosecution had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that our client:

  1. had physical control of the child exploitation material on his laptop; and
  2. know of its existence.

In circumstances where our client no longer used his second laptop and regularly lent his second laptop to members of the church, Ms Garland submitted that the Prosecution could not prove that the other people that used our client’s laptop regularly, did not download or access the child exploitation material on our client’s laptop. In circumstances where the Prosecution could not prove that our client had physical control of the child exploitation material on his laptop, or knew of its existence, the Prosecution accepted Ms Garland’s submission and the prosecution against our client was withdrawn.