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Using a Postal Service to Groom a Person Under the Age of 16 Years

Using a postal service to groom a person under the age of 16 years is an offence under section 471.25(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), which carries a maximum penalty of 15 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 caused an article to be carried by a postal or similar service to another person (‘the recipient’)
  3. You intended by doing so to make it easier to procure the recipient to engage in sexual activity with you, and
  4. The recipient was under the age of 16 years, or you believed him or her to be under that age.

To ‘procure’ is to encourage, entice, recruit or induce, whether by threats, promises or otherwise

‘Sexual activity’ includes sexual intercourse, sexual touching and other acts of a sexual nature.

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

For the purpose of establishing your belief about the recipient’s age any representation made to you that he or she was under, of or over a certain age is proof 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 representing themselves as a real person.

You may be found guilty even if it was impossible for the sexual activity to take place.

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

Duress and necessity are defences to the charge.

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