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25 January 2024, 5:51pm
Media Release

Sydney man charged with ordering live distance child abuse

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

A Sydney man has appeared in the Downing Centre Local Court today (25 January, 2024) after being charged with allegedly paying to watch online as a child overseas was sexually abused.

The AFP arrested and charged the Oakhurst man, 47, yesterday (24 January, 2024) after Australian Border Force (ABF) officers at Sydney International Airport searched his baggage when he returned from overseas and allegedly found suspicious messages on a mobile phone.

AFP Eastern Command Child Protection Operations (EC-CPO) members reviewed the device and allegedly found messages in which the man provided instructions to another adult to sexually abuse a girl, while he watched on livestream video.

Police seized the mobile phone for further examination.

The man has been charged with one count of sexual activity (other than sexual intercourse) with a child outside Australia, contrary to section 272.9(2) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).

This charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years' imprisonment.

The man was refused bail in court today and will next appear in court on 20 March, 2024.

AFP Commander Kate Ferry said the AFP believed the child was in the Philippines and officers were now working with AFP members based in Manila and Philippines authorities to identify her and remove her from harm, and identify any alleged child abuse facilitators.

"The AFP works closely with police around the world to combat the exploitation and abuse of children," Commander Ferry said.

"Our common goal is to protect children, wherever they live, and to ensure anyone who tries to harm them is identified and brought before the courts."

ABF Acting Commander Raef McDonough said through the diligent detection of border officers, further investigation could now be conducted to ensure the child was protected from any future harm.

"The Australian border is a critical component to stopping the distribution and production of child abuse material," a/Commander McDonough said.

"Our specially trained officers are ready and waiting to detect and arrest anyone involved in this type of criminal – and detestable – activity."

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. 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.

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 on the ThinkUKnow website, 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 the ACCCE website.

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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