Man charged at Sydney Airport with allegedly possessing child abuse material

Child_Exploitation

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

A New South Wales man appeared in Downing Centre Local Court today (15 March, 2023) charged with six online child abuse-related offences.

AFP Eastern Command Child Protection investigators arrested the Warwick Farm man at Sydney Airport yesterday (14 March, 2023), after Australian Border Force (ABF) officers allegedly found instant messenger conversations containing child abuse material on his phone.

The man, 24, arrived in Australia on a flight from overseas yesterday morning and was selected for a baggage examination by ABF officers. During this examination, officers examined his mobile phone and discovered the alleged child abuse material and referred the matter  to the AFP.

After further examination of the phone AFP Child Protection investigators charged the man with:

  • One count of intentionally importing prohibited tier 2 goods without approval, contrary to section 233BAB(5) of the Customs Act 1901 (Cth);
  • One count of using a carriage service to access child abuse material, contrary to 474.22(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth);
  • One count of using a carriage service to possess child abuse material obtained or accessed using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22A of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth);
  • Two counts of using a carriage service to transmit child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth) and;
  • One count of using a carriage service to make available child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).

The maximum penalty for the offences is 15 years' imprisonment.

AFP Senior Constable Nicholas Xuereb said the AFP, together with ABF, remained committed to protecting our community's most vulnerable – our children.

"Anyone who views this material is committing a crime,’’ he said.

“Our message to online offenders has not changed - If you procure, access and transmit child abuse material, you will be found, arrested and prosecuted.”

ABF Superintendent Phillip Anderson commended ABF officers’ diligent work to detect and disrupt those in possession of child abuse material.

“Tackling child abuse is an important part of the ABF's role in protecting Australia from individuals who may pose a threat to the community," 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 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 is impacted by child sexual abuse and online exploitation, support services are available at www.accce.gov.au/support.

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 www.thinkuknow.org.au, 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 www.accce.gov.au.

Anyone with information about suspicious border activity or border-related crime the community can report it anytime through Border Watch at borderwatch.gov.au. Information can be provided anonymously.

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.

Media enquiries

AFP Media: (02) 5126 9297

Connect with the AFP and ACCCE: Follow our Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube pages to learn more about what the AFP does to keep Australia safe.

Follow the ACCCE Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube pages to learn more about what the ACCCE does to keep children safe online.

If it doesn't add up, speak up. Call the National Security Hotline - 1800 123 400.

Read the AFP Annual Report 2021-22

Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation - visit website

Policing and community news from the AFP