Indecent Images of Children and the Law: A Guide

April 29, 2019

If you have been accused of taking, possessing, making or sharing indecent images of a person under the age of 18, it is understandable that you will have some questions about the law. This post is designed to provide some basic information concerning the law of indecent images, for in-depth and comprehensive legal advice from an experienced criminal defence solicitor. Contact Stuart Sutton today on 0808 164 6795 or 0808 169 5980.

What is the law concerning indecent images of children?

Possessing, sharing, taking or making indecent images or pseudo-photographs of anyone aged under 18 is against the law.

The Protection of Children Act 1978 strictly prohibits the prohibition on taking, making, distribution, and possession with a view to distribution of any indecent images or pseudo-images of a child. Crimes prosecuted under this legislation carry a maximum custodial sentence of 10 years.

Section 160 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 also makes possession of indecent mages or pseudo-images of children an offence. Crimes prosecuted under this legislation carry a maximum custodial sentence of 5 years. 

There are defences available to those aged over 16 years of age who produce sexual images for their own use in the course of a marriage or civil partnership.

What is a pseudo-photograph?

This is an image that is made by a computer, or which appears to be a photograph. Pseudo-images include; photos, videos, tracings of a picture and data which could be turned into an image.

A pseudo-photograph is an image made by computer-graphics or otherwise which appears to be a photograph.

What does ‘indecent’ mean?

Indecent is not defined explicitly in the legislation but may include any sexual activity.

How is ‘making’ indecent images defined?

Making is defined broadly to include downloading, opening, accessing or storing digital content. Examples of ‘making’ indecent images include:

  • Downloading an image from a website to your computer
  • Opening an email attachment that contains an indecent image
  • Accessing a website where images appear as a result of an automatic popup.
  • Storing images in a directory

How is ‘sharing’ indecent images defined?

Sharing indecent images includes sending in an email, uploading to a website that other people can access, offering the image(s) on a file sharing platform, and storing images with the intent to distribute.

If you are facing charges concerning indecent images of children, there is no time to delay. Seeking expert legal advice from a highly experienced sexual offences solicitor is vital to protect both your liberty and your reputation. Stuart Sutton has many years of experience in handling even the most novel and complex indecent images cases and can provide the best defence available to you. Get in touch today.

Contact our Sexual Offences Defence Solicitors

If you believe that you have been wrongly convicted (or sentenced) or that one of your friends or family have been so convicted, in relation to a sexual offences case, please contact Stuart on 0808 164 6795 or 0808 169 5980.

Stuart has been in practice since 1987 and has throughout most of that time been involved in defending clients accused of sexual offences, be they against individuals or internet crimes. He has acted for clients who have been charged with sexual assaults, rape, offences against children, making pornographic images and related crimes.  He has a nationwide practice and divides his time between our Manchester and London offices, where he meets with his clients to take instructions and prepares documents.

Double Jeopardy Legislation Used to Secure Historic Rape Conviction

A man has appeared in Stafford Crown Court on rape charges relating to an offence carried out in 1989.

The victim, who was 17-years-old at the time, caught a train from Shrewsbury intending to travel to Wellington. She missed her stop and got off at Telford.

She had no money with her but a taxi driver, Irvine Watt, offered to help her. However instead of driving her to Wellington he drove her to a field and raped her. He then drove the victim back to Telford railway station, gave her £1.70 for a ticket back to Shrewsbury. The victim later informed her family what had happened and then the police.

Following a police investigation Watt was arrested and later charged, however the prosecution was later dropped and the defendant acquitted due to lack of forensic evidence.

In 2014, a review was carried out of the forensic evidence which provided a DNA match to the defendant and the matter was successfully brought before the Court of Appeal under the rarely used ‘double jeopardy’ legislation. He was arrested and a successful application was made to quash the 1989 acquittal. Watt was subsequently charged with and found guilty of rape and attempted rape and has now been sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment.

“For nearly 30 years Irvine Watt had thought that he had escaped justice, however, through new forensic techniques, we were able to match the defendant’s DNA to the 1989 rape,” commented Robin Allen, with the Crown Prosecution Service. “The prosecution team were able to use this key piece of evidence to reopen the case, make an application to quash the previous acquittal and order a retrial resulting in today’s successful conviction.”

Contact Stuart Sutton at Tuckers Solicitors

If you believe that you have been wrongly convicted (or sentenced) or that one of your friends or family have been so convicted, in relation to a sexual offences case, please contact Stuart on 0808 164 6795 or 0808 169 5980.

Stuart has been in practice since 1987 and has throughout most of that time been involved in defending clients accused of sexual offences, be they against individuals or internet crimes. He has acted for clients who have been charged with sexual assaults, rape, offences against children, making pornographic images and related crimes.  He has a nationwide practice and divides his time between our Manchester and London offices, where he meets with his clients to take instructions and prepares documents.