Cairns man charged over alleged online child abuse offences

hand holding handcuffs

A 26-year-old man charged with online child abuse charges who failed to appear in Cairns Magistrate Court earlier this month has been arrested and is scheduled to face court today (30 April 2022).

The Cairns Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (Cairns JACET) alongside the Cairns Queensland Police Service Child Protection Investigation Unit originally arrested and charged the man on 16 March 2022 after allegedly finding files containing child abuse material on a phone located at the man’s residence.

The investigation was launched after a report from the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in relation to a person, believed to be in Australia, sharing child abuse material via Instagram and Facebook.

The Cairns JACET, which comprises AFP and Queensland Police Service officers, allegedly linked the 26-year-old to the accounts and executed a warrant at his residence.

He was arrested and scheduled to face court on 19 April 2022, however failed to appear.

A warrant for his arrest was issued. Police arrested the man yesterday (29 April) and charged him with a further 32 offences for transmitting child abuse material.

Two electronic devices containing child abuse material were also located and seized at the man’s home.

AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Child Protection Operations, Kurt Wesche said the AFP works with partners across Australia to protect children in the community from sexual exploitation and abuse.

“Every image and every second of a video has a real child being abused and being subjected to a situation that no child should ever,” he said.

“The AFP is dedicated to working with our partners to bring anyone who shares this material to justice.”

The 26-year-old has been charged with:

  • One count of using a carriage service to access child abuse material contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(i) of the Criminal Code (Cth);
  • One count of possessing or controlling child abuse material obtained or accessed by using a carriage service contrary to section 474.22A(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth); and
  • Thirty two counts of transmitting child abuse material using a carriage service contrary to s474.22(1)(a)(iii) of the Criminal Code (Cth).

The maximum penalty for these offences is 15 years’ imprisonment.

The AFP is also urging the public to help it solve cold case child abuse investigations through its Stop Child Abuse – Trace an Object initiative. The smallest clue can often help solve a case.

The world-leading initiative, is centred on the publishing of non-confrontational images that can be seen in child exploitation online material such as pieces of clothing or bedding.

Australian investigators believe the images are linked to victims in the Asia Pacific Region, including Australia, and are calling on the community to view the images and make a report at www.accce.gov.au/trace

The AFP and its partners are committed to stopping child exploitation and abuse and the ACCCE is at the centre of a collaborative national approach to combatting child abuse.

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

Members of the public who have information about people involved in child abuse and exploitation are urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or www.accce.gov.au/report. 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 are impacted by child sexual abuse and online exploitation there are support services available at www.accce.gov.au/support.

Advice and support for parents and carers about how they can help protect children online can be found at www.thinkuknow.org.au, an AFP-led education program designed to prevent online child sexual exploitation.

Note to media:

Use of term 'CHILD ABUSE' MATERIAL NOT 'CHILD PORNOGRAPHY'

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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Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation - visit website

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