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Section 91HAA Crimes Act 1900
Administering a Digital Platform used to Deal with Child Abuse Material

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Administering a digital platform used to deal with child abuse material is an offence under section 91HAA of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), which carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You administered, or assisted in the administration of, a digital platform,
  2. The platform was used by another person to deal with child abuse material, and
  3. You intended for the platform to be used by another to deal with the material, or you were aware the platform was being used by another to deal with the material.

‘Digital platform’ encompasses all forms of online publishing, communications and broadcasting, including:

  1. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and WhatsApp,
  2. Media sharing platforms such as YouTube, Spotify and Vimeo,
  3. Messaging services linked to social media and media sharing platforms,
  4. Online knowledge platforms such as Reddit, Quora and 4chan,
  5. Streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Stan,
  6. Online service platforms such as Uber, Airtasker and Fiverr,
  7. E-commerce platforms such as Amazon, eBay and Shopify, and
  8. Email communications.

To ‘administer’ a digital platform is to:

  1. Design, create, manage or maintain the platform, or a part or function thereof
  2. Provide a device to host the platform, or a part or function thereof, or
  3. Facilitate the operation and use of the platform, or a part of function thereof.

To ‘deal with’ child abuse material includes to:

  1. View, upload or download it
  2. Make it available for viewing, uploading or downloading, or
  3. Facilitate the viewing, uploading or downloading of it.

‘Child abuse material’ is that which depicts or describes in a way that reasonable persons would regard as being offensive:

  1. The private parts of a person who is, or appears to be or is implied to be, a child, or
  2. A person who is, or appears to be or is implied to be, a child as a victim of torture, cruelty or physical abuse, or engaged in or apparently engaged in a sexual pose or sexual activity, or in the presence of another who is engaged in or apparently engaged in a sexual pose or sexual activity.

‘Material’ includes any film, printed matter, data or any other thing of any kind, including any computer image or other depiction.

‘Data’ includes information in any form, as well as any program or part thereof.

‘Private parts’ is defined as the genital or anal area, whether bare or covered by underwear, or the breasts of a female, or transgender or intersex person identifying as female, whether or not the breasts are developed.

In determining whether material is offensive’, the following matters must be taken into account:

  1. The standards of morality, decency and propriety accepted by reasonable adults,
  2. The literary, artistic or educational merit (if any) of the material,
  3. The journalistic merit (if any) of the material, and/or
  4. The general character of the material.

A ‘child’ is a person under the age of 16 years.

You are not guilty if you are able to establish, on the balance of probabilities, that:

  1. Your conduct was for public benefit and did not extend beyond it,
  2. The material received a classification for publication,
  3. The use of the material was approved by the Attorney-General for research, or
  4. The material depicted you and would not be child abuse material in the absence of your image.

Conduct is for ‘public benefit’ if, and only if, it is necessary for or of assistance in:

  1. Enforcing or administering a law of the Commonwealth or an Australian state or territory,
  2. Monitoring compliance with, or investigating a contravention of, such a law, or
  3. The administration of justice.

The question of whether your conduct was for public benefit is one of fact and the motives for your conduct are irrelevant.

You are also not guilty if you establish that you took all reasonable steps in the circumstances to prevent other persons from using the platform to deal with child abuse material, on becoming aware the platform was being used for that purpose.

Duress is a further defence to the charge.

If you are going to court for the offence of Administering a Digital Platform used to Deal with Child Abuse Material, for expert advice and outstanding representation from Australia’s Most Awarded Criminal Defence Firm, call Sydney Criminal Lawyers® today on (02) 9261 8881 and let our experienced defence team help you.

The Legislation

Section 91HAA of the Crimes Act 1900 reads as follows:

91HAA Administering a digital platform used to deal with child abuse material

(1) A person (the
“administrator” ) is guilty of an offence if–
(a) the administrator administers, or assists in the administration of, a digital platform, and
(b) the digital platform is used by another person to deal with child abuse material, and
(c) the administrator–
(i) intends that the digital platform be used by another person to deal with child abuse material, or
(ii) is aware that the digital platform is being used by another person to deal with child abuse material.
Maximum penalty–imprisonment for 14 years.

(2) In proceedings for an offence against this section, it is not necessary to prove the identity of the person using the digital platform to deal with child abuse material.

(3) In this section–
“administer” , a digital platform, includes the following–
(a) design, create, manage or maintain the digital platform, part of the digital platform or a function of the digital platform,
(b) provide a device to host the digital platform, part of the digital platform or a function of the digital platform,
(c) facilitate the operation and use of the digital platform, part of the digital platform or a function of the digital platform.

Why Choose Sydney Criminal Lawyers®?

Going to court can be nerve-racking, but having a strong and compassionate legal team behind you can make the experience significantly easier to deal with.

Here are 12 reasons to choose our multi-award winning legal team:

  1. Proven Track Record of Exceptional Results

    Sydney Criminal Lawyers® consistently achieves outcomes which are in the highest percentile of the Judicial Commission’s sentencing statistics for criminal cases.

    Our legal team devises effective case-strategies and fights hard to have cases dropped entirely or charges downgraded – saving clients the time, expense and stress of a defended hearing or jury trial.

    Where cases nevertheless proceed, our lawyers have an outstanding track record of winning defended Local Court hearings, and complex jury trials in the District and Supreme Courts.

    We also consistently win appeals in the District and Supreme Courts (including the NSWCCA) after clients have received unsatisfactory results with other law firms in the lower courts.We are one of the few firms to achieve successful criminal law appeals in the High Court of Australia.

    Where our clients wish to plead guilty, we frequently achieve ‘dismissals’ and ‘non convictions’ in cases where other lawyers have advised there is no chance of doing so.

  2. Highest Level of Client Satisfaction

    We have the best and most comprehensive client review record of any law firm in Australia.

    Regular communication, accessibility and quality service are our team’s highest priorities.

    We are committed to thoroughly explaining all steps involved in the criminal law process, providing regular updates throughout the proceedings, and making ourselves accessible and responsive.

    We are passionate about providing an exceptional level of service to our clients, and we fight hard to achieve optimal results in the shortest period of time.

  3. Australia’s Most Awarded Criminal Law Firm

    We have received more awards and accolades than any other criminal law firm in Australia. Our team has been awarded “Criminal Defence Firm of the Year in Australia” in a number of prestigious and competitive awards programs for several years running.

    The awards recognise our exceptional track record of results, our outstanding client service, the high level of satisfaction we achieve, the affordability of our services and our overall excellence.

  4. Fixed Fees

    We want our clients to know exactly how much their cases will cost from the very start. That’s why we were the first criminal law firm in Australia to publish ‘fixed fees’, back in 2004.

    We offer fixed fees for most types of criminal cases and services.Our fixed fees apply to a range of Local Court cases such as drink driving, drug possession, fraud, common assault and AVOs, and also specific services such as prison visits, bail applications, appeals and defended hearings.

    Unlike many other law firms, our fixed fees are published on our website – which ensures transparency and certainty.

  5. Free First Appointment

    For those who are going to court, we offer a free first conference of up to an hour with one of our Senior Criminal Defence Lawyers.

    We also offer a free first conference to those who have received an unsatisfactory result after being represented in court by another law firm, or after representing themselves, and wish to appeal.

  6. Specialist Lawyer Guarantee

    We guarantee that only lawyers with substantial criminal defence experience will work on your case and appear for you in court.

    This ensures our clients receive the highest quality representation from an experienced, specialist criminal lawyer.

  7. All NSW Courts

    From Bombala to Broken Hill, our lawyers appear in courts throughout New South Wales – and across Australia for Commonwealth cases.

    And we offer fixed fees for most criminal and traffic law cases throughout the state.

  8. Accredited Specialists

    Our entire firm is exclusively dedicated to criminal law – which makes us true specialists.

    All of our lawyers have years of experience representing clients in criminal cases, and our principal has been certified by the Law Society of NSW as an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist since 2005.

    An ‘Accredited Specialist’ is a lawyer who has practised for at least 5 years in a particular field of law (such as criminal law), has passed a rigorous assessment process conducted by the Law Society of NSW, and has been selected by the Specialist Accreditation Committee of the Law Society as an expert in the field.

    Accredited Specialists are required to undertake more training each year than other lawyers and must be successful in having their accreditation renewed every year. Specialist Accreditation is the mark of a true specialist.

    Our firm’s specialist experience ensures you receive the best possible result, whatever your criminal law case may be.

  9. Results-Focused Law Firm

    Our team is passionate about achieving results, and unlike many other law firms, our lawyers do not have monthly financial ‘budgets’ to meet.

    The absence of budgets means our lawyers are entirely focused on achieving optimal results in the shortest space of time; whether by getting charges dropped or downgraded at an early stage or having cases ‘thrown out of court’.

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  10. Team of Lawyers Behind You

    Our clients benefit from the pool of knowledge that only an extensive team of experienced criminal defence lawyers can provide.

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  11. Familiar with Magistrates and Judges

    Each of our lawyers appears in court on a daily basis, and has done so for years. We have therefore been able to develop an understanding of, and rapport with, magistrates and judges in Sydney and indeed across the state.

    Our team’s extensive experience before the courts ensures your case is tailored to the specific nuances of individual judicial officers, maximising the likelihood of a favourable result.

  12. Convenience

    We have offices in locations across the Sydney Metropolitan Area and beyond, including:

    We offer free parking at our Sydney CBD offices, and all of our offices are close to train stations and bus terminals.

    For those who are unable to attend our offices, we offer conferences by telephone, Skye and FaceTime anywhere around the world.

    If you are going to court and wish to arrange a free first consultation, call our 24 hour hotline on (02) 9261 8881 or send us an email at info@sydneycriminallawyers.com.au.

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