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Source: Australian Federal Police

A 48-year-old Sydney man will face court today (1 July 2020), for allegedly sharing child abuse material online and possessing illicit drugs. 

The Australian Federal Police’s NSW Child Protection Operations Team launched an investigation after receiving a report from the United States of America’s National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children regarding the transmission of child abuse material on a social media account.

Investigations led AFP officers, with the assistance of New South Wales Police Force (NSWPF), to execute a search warrant at the man’s Caringbah home on Tuesday, 23 June 2020.

During the search, police seized a number of mobile phones and prohibited weapons. Forensic examination of the devices is ongoing. Police also located substances suspected to be methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA), methamphetamine and gamma butyrolactone (GBL). NSWPF officers seized the substances for further examination.

The man is due to appear in Sutherland Local Court today, charged with:

  •          Using a carriage service to access child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(i) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth); This offence carries a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment;
  •          2 x Possessing child abuse material obtained or accessed through a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22(A) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth). This offence carries a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment;    
  •          Supply prohibited drug greater or equal large commercial quantity, contrary to section contrary to section 25 (2) of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985. This offence carries a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment;
  •          Supply prohibited drug greater or equal to commercial quantity, contrary to section 10(1)of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985. This offence carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment; and
  •          2 x Possess or use a prohibited weapon without permit-T2 contrary to section 7 (1) of the Weapons and Prohibition Act 1988. This offence carries a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment.

AFP NSW Child Protection Operations Detective Sergeant Joel Wheeler said the investigation emphasised the importance of international law enforcement relationships.

“When a file is shared online it crosses national and international boarders in the click of a button. That click amplifies the horrific and lifelong impacts of the abuse suffered by the victims,” Detective Sergeant Wheeler said.

“By working closely with our law enforcement counterparts across the world, we can tighten the net around those who continue to target and abuse the most vulnerable in our community – our children. We can identify those offenders and put them before court.”

Anyone with information about suspected online child abuse can alert the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation via the Report Abuse button at www.accce.gov.au/report.

Editor’s note: Footage of the operation is available to download via this Hightail link: https://spaces.hightail.com/space/2kXVeJcSYt/files

Note to media:

USE OF TERM ‘CHILD ABUSE’ MATERIAL, NOT ‘CHILD PORNOGRAPHY’

Use of the phrase “child pornography” 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 captures an actual situation where a child has been abused. This is not “pornography”.

Media enquiries:
AFP National Media: (02) 5126 9297

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