Northern Territory man charged with child abuse material and grooming offences

Child_Exploitation

Editor’s note: vision of the arrest available via Hightail

Detectives from the Northern Territory Joint Anti-Child Exploitation Team (NT JACET) have charged a 72-year-old man in Marrakai for allegedly transmitting and possessing child abuse material as well as grooming-related offences.

The man was arrested yesterday evening (23 August, 2021) after police executed a search warrant at a home in Marrakai, following an investigation by the Covert Online Engagement Unit from the Australian Federal Police-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE).

Police will allege the man transmitted, possessed and attempted to gain access to child abuse material online and was also allegedly attempting to groom a teenage girl online.

The man appeared in Darwin Magistrates Court today (24 August 2021) charged with:

  • Using a carriage service to transmit a communication to a recipient who they believed to be under 16 years of age, which included material that is indecent, contrary to subsection 474.27A(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995(Cth);
  • Possessing child abuse material, in the form of data held in a computer or contained in a data storage device and using a carriage service to obtain or access the material, contrary to section 474.22A(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);
  • Using a carriage service to transmit a communication to the recipient, being someone they believed to be under 16 years of age, with the intention of making it easier to procure the recipient to engage in sexual activity, contrary to section 474.27(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);
  • Using a carriage service, to transmit a communication, to the recipient with the intention of making it easier to procure a person to engage in sexual activity with someone who they believed to be under 16 years of age contrary to section 474.27(AA)(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);
  • Producing child abuse material and engaging in that production with the intention that the material be used by another person, contrary to section 474.23 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);
  • Using a carriage service to engage in sexual activity with a person under 16 years of age contrary to section 474.25C of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);

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

He has been remanded in custody to appear on 5 October, 2021.

AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Child Protection Operations Tim Puchala said it is important for parents and carers to be aware of the dangers that young people face online, and to speak to their children about those risks.

“It is so important to ensure there is ongoing communication between you and your children, so they know they can approach you if something goes wrong,” Detective Acting Superintendent Puchala said.

Northern Territory Police Force Detective Senior Sergeant Paul Lawson said, “These sorts of behaviours are completely reprehensible. This investigation shows the importance of multi-agency operations working together to identify and apprehend those in our community who pose a serious risk to the safety of the most vulnerable in our community.

“The Northern Territory JACET will continue to work tirelessly with national and international partners to keep the most vulnerable in our community safe,” Detective Senior Sergeant Lawson said.

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

The Centre 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 any information about people involved in child abuse and exploitation are urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online.

If you or someone you know are impacted by child sexual abuse and online exploitation there are support services available.

Advice and support for parents and carers about how they can help protection children online can be found at ThinkUKnow, 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.

Media enquiries

AFP Media: (02) 5126 9297

National Security Hotline

Read the AFP Annual Report 2019-20

The Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation

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