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Sections 91H Crimes Act 1900
Produce, Disseminate, Possess Child Abuse Material

Being accused of producing, disseminating or possessing child abuse material is a serious allegation that can have serious implications for your reputation and future life.

However, a good first step to take is to understand the charges against you.

By doing so, you can put yourself in the best possible position when it comes to fighting the charges and protecting your innocence.

Section 91H of the Crimes Act 1900 deals with the offence of “production, dissemination or possession of child abuse material.”

It contains definitions for each of these actions, as well as a list of possible defences that you may raise to explain your actions and secure a verdict of “not guilty.”

Under section 91H:

  • “Production” refers to the creation of child abuse material; for example, filming, photographing or drawing a child who is engaged in a sexual pose or activity, or a child who is portrayed to be a victim of torture, cruelty or physical abuse. It can also refer to agreements that you have entered into to produce child abuse material.
  • “Dissemination” refers to the distribution, supply, exhibition or transmission of child abuse material – for example, sending child abuse material to others over the internet, or selling and distributing DVDs which contain child abuse material. It can also refer to agreements to supply, distribute, exhibit or transmit child abuse material.
  • “Possession” refers to cases where you had child abuse material under your custody and control, for example, where child abuse material is found on your computer or in your home.

If you are found guilty of either producing, disseminating or possessing child abuse material, you could face a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment.

However, it’s important to remember that this is a maximum penalty – which means that it will only apply in the most serious child abuse material cases.

With the help of our highly experienced specialist lawyers, you can fight the charges to escape a conviction.

We can also advise you of any defences to the charges, which, if accepted, will result in a finding of “not guilty.”

Examples of defences contained under section 91H include:

  • Where you didn’t know, and could not reasonably have been expected to have known that you produced, disseminated or possessed child abuse material (for example, where someone else downloaded child abuse material onto your computer that you were unaware of).
  • Where you took all reasonable steps to get rid of child abuse material as soon as you became aware of it;
  • Where the child abuse material was for the purposes of scientific, medical or educational research that was approved by the Attorney General.

The Legislation

Section 91H contains defences for the offence of “production, dissemination or possession of child abuse material.”

These sections read as follows:

91H Production, dissemination or possession of child abuse material

(1) In this section:

“disseminate” child abuse material, includes:

(a) send, supply, exhibit, transmit or communicate it to another person, or
(b) make it available for access by another person, or
(c) enter into any agreement or arrangement to do so.

“possess” child abuse material includes, in relation to material in the form of data, being in possession or control of data (within the meaning of section 308F (2)).

“produce” child abuse material includes:

(a) film, photograph, print or otherwise make child abuse material, or
(b) alter or manipulate any image for the purpose of making child abuse material, or
(c) enter into any agreement or arrangement to do so.

(2) A person who produces, disseminates or possesses child abuse material is guilty of an offence.

Maximum penalty: imprisonment for 10 years.

(3) Proceedings for an offence under this section against a child or young person may only be instituted by or with the approval of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

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’.

    Not having budgets also means our lawyers are not under pressure to engage in unscrupulous practices such as unnecessarily adjourning cases or ‘overcharging’ clients – which, sadly, is a common complaint against many other lawyers and law firms.

    No budgets encourages regular consultation between lawyers within the firm – promoting an ‘open door’, team environment where lawyers bounce ideas off one another, formulate case strategy together and benefit from each other’s specialised experience, methods, techniques and insights.

    The result is a firm which delivers optimal outcomes in the shortest time periods, at the least expense and stress to our clients.

  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.

    Our lawyers regularly consult one another to stay ‘ahead of the pack’ in the ever-changing field of criminal law – constantly devising, refining and implementing specialised techniques which ensure our clients achieve the best possible outcomes.

    A team approach is particularly important when it comes to serious criminal cases such as murder, commercial drug cases, serious and sexual assaults, large-scale fraud, robbery and other ‘indictable’ cases.

    In such matters, clients reap the benefits of several lawyers devising and executing case strategies which maximise the chances of having cases dropped or downgraded at an early stage, or ‘thrown out of court’ – often saving clients a great deal of cost, time and anxiety.

  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:

    • the Sydney CBD, on Castlereagh Street, directly opposite Downing Centre Court,
    • Liverpool, directly opposite Liverpool Local Court, and
    • Parramatta, near the justice precinct.

    We offer free parking at our Sydney CBD and Liverpool locations, 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.

Recent Cases

Possess Child Abuse Material Charges Dropped

All charges have been dropped against our 38 year old client from Darlinghurst who was accused of 'possessing child abuse material'.

Police executed a search warrant upon our client's home after they intercepted telephone calls and emails between him and another man allegedly containing sexually explicit conversations and material about children.

They seized and examined his computers, which allegedly stored sexually explicit images and videos of children.

However, our defence team found that the alleged 'child abuse material' was amongst thousands of adult pornographic images and videos, and our forensic analysis concluded that the child images may have been downloaded accidentally.

Detailed written submissions were made to the prosecution advising that they could not prove beyond reasonable doubt that our client was aware of the images.

After intense negotiations, all charges were withdrawn in Downing Centre Local Court.

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