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Sydney man charged with indecent communication with a child

21 February 2023, 7:20pm
Media Release

Sydney man charged with indecent communication with a child

This is a joint release between Australian Federal Police and Australian Border Force

A Sydney man has appeared in Downing Centre Local Court today (21 February, 2023), charged with indecently communicating with a child under 16 years of age.

AFP Eastern Command Child Protection investigators arrested the Marsfield man at Sydney Airport yesterday (20 February 2023), after Australian Border Force (ABF) officers allegedly found WhatsApp conversations with a child on his phone.

The man, 26, arrived in Australia on a flight from overseas yesterday afternoon and was selected for a baggage examination by ABF officers. During this examination, officers also examined his mobile phone.  The matter was referred to the AFP after the discovery of the alleged conversation.

AFP Child Protection investigators further examined the man’s phone and charged him with using a carriage service to transmit indecent communication to a person under 16 years of age, contrary to section 474.27A of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).

The maximum penalty for this offence is 10 years’ imprisonment.

The man was bailed to next appear in court on 18 April, 2023.

AFP Detective Sergeant Navi Pandher said children should be protected and not exposed to themes that they were too young to understand.

“It is essential parents and carers know what platforms their children are using online and who they are speaking to; you play an important role in protecting your child from harm,” Detective Sergeant Navi Pandher said.

“The AFP-led education program ThinkUKnow has a number of resources with tips on how to protect your child online.”  

ABF Superintendent Phillip Anderson said information seized from passengers’ phones has contributed to the success of many law enforcement operations targeting illegal activities.

“ABF officers are on the frontline every day, using highly sophisticated technology to catch this type of detestable behaviour,” Superintendent Anderson said.

“The ABF, together with our law enforcement partners, are the first line of defence for our community. We are committed to protecting children and ensuring that those who seek to bring them harm are themselves brought to justice.”

The AFP and its partners are committed to stopping child exploitation and abuse and the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation is driving a collaborative national approach to combatting child abuse.

The ACCCE brings together specialist expertise and skills in a central hub, supporting investigations into online child sexual exploitation and developing prevention strategies focused on creating a safer online environment.

Members of the public who have information about people involved in child abuse are urged to contact the ACCCE at If you know abuse is happening right now or a child is at risk, call police immediately on 000.

If you or someone you know is impacted by child sexual abuse and online exploitation, support services are available at

Research conducted by the ACCCE in 2020 revealed only about half of parents talked to their children about online safety. Advice and support for parents and carers about how they can help protect children online can be found at, an AFP-led education program designed to prevent online child sexual exploitation.

For more information on the role of the ACCCE, what is online child sexual exploitation and how to report it visit

Anyone with information about suspicious border activity or border-related crime in their community can report it to ABF through Border Watch at Information can be provided anonymously.​

Note to media:


The correct legal term is Child Abuse Material – the move to this wording was among amendments to Commonwealth legislation in 2019 to more accurately reflect the gravity of the crimes and the harm inflicted on victims.

Use of the phrase "child pornography" is inaccurate and benefits child sex abusers because it:

  • indicates legitimacy and compliance on the part of the victim and therefore legality on the part of the abuser; and
  • conjures images of children posing in 'provocative' positions, rather than suffering horrific abuse.

Every photograph or video captures an actual situation where a child has been abused.

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ABF Media: (02) 6264 2211

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