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Using a Carriage Service to Transmit an Indecent Communication to a Child

Using a carriage service to transmit an indecent communication to a child is an offence under section 474.27A of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

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

  1. You were at least 18 years of age
  2. You used a carriage service to transmit a communication to another person (the recipient)
  3. Your communication included material that was indecent, and
  4. The recipient was under the age of 16 years, or you believed he or she was under that age.

A ‘carriage service’ is:

‘a service for carrying communications by means of guided and/or unguided electromagnetic energy’, which includes telephone calls, text messages and internet transmissions such as emails and social media messaging.

‘Indecent’ is determined according to the standards of ordinary people.

You are not guilty of the offence if you establish to the court on the balance of probabilities that you believed the recipient was at least 16 years of age.

For the purpose of establishing your belief about age any representation made to you that the recipient was under, of or over a certain age is proof that you believed he or she was of the represented age, unless there is evidence to the contrary.

When determining your belief about age, the court may consider a range of matters including:

  1. The recipient’s appearance
  2. Any medical or other scientific opinion
  3. Any document that is or appears to be an official or medical record from outside Australia, and
  4. Any document that appears to be a copy of such a record.

It is immaterial that the recipient was a fictitious person represented as a real person.

You are not guilty if you attempted but failed to convey the communication to the recipient.

Duress is a defence to the charge.

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