Criminal Lawyers for Possess, Produce or Disseminate Child Abuse Material – s 91H Crimes Act 1900

Being charged with a child abuse material offence can be distressing for you and your loved ones.

But you can take comfort in knowing that our experienced defence team will fight for you every step of the way.

Our lawyers have decades of specialised experienced in child abuse material and child pornography cases.

If you have a valid legal defence or the case against has problems, we will push to have the charges ‘dropped’ at an early date to save you from the stress and expense of lengthy criminal proceedings.

If your case proceeds, our top lawyers will fight to prove your innocence in court.

If you wish to plead ‘guilty’, we will ensure that you are in the best possible position at your ‘sentencing hearing’ to give you the highest chance of avoiding a prison sentence.

Your Options in Court

Pleading Not Guilty

Before you can be found guilty of a ‘child abuse material’ charge, the prosecution has that the material is covered by the legislation.

Child abuse material is defined as any offensive material which depicts or describes either

The prosecution must also prove that you produced, disseminated or possessed child abuse material.

If you feel that the prosecution will not be able to prove one of the above circumstances, you can enter a plea of ‘not guilty’ and fight the charges in court.

Alternatively, you might have a good reason or excuse to justify your actions – in which case you can enter a plea of ‘not guilty’ and raise a defence in court.

There are several defences that you can use which, if accepted, can result in the charges being dismissed.

Pleading Guilty

The possession, dissemination or production of child abuse material can be dealt with in the Local Court or in a higher court, such as the District or Supreme Courts.

Where your matter is dealt with in the Local Court, the maximum penalty is 2 years imprisonment.

Where your matter is dealt with in a higher court, the maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment.

However, remember that these are maximum penalties only, and the type of penalty that you will receive will depend on the facts and circumstances of your case. In many cases, you may be able to avoid gaol altogether.

The types of penalties that may apply include:

What Does the Law Say About Child Abuse Material

Offences relating to child abuse material are often complex and difficult to understand.

We have compiled some information below to help you understand what the charges involve and how they could affect your future.

What is ‘child abuse material?’

As stated above, ‘child abuse material’ refers to any offensive material which depicts or describes either:

It’s important to remember that under this section a child also refers to persons who ‘appear to be or are implied to be’ children.

This means that in cases where the subject of the material is actually over the age of 18, but they look like a child, or are presented to be a child, the material might still be classified as ‘child abuse material.’

In assessing how serious the offence is (and determining the appropriate penalty for the offence), the court can consider things like:

In determining whether or not something is ‘child abuse material,’ the court will consider generally accepted moral standards, as well as any artistic, educational or journalistic merit of the material.

The court will also consider whether the material has a scientific, medical or legal purpose.

What defences can I use?

There are several defences that you can use which, if accepted, can result in the charges being dismissed:

Lack of knowledge

Often, other people, such as friends, family or work colleagues, may have access to your personal computer. In some cases, these persons may accidentally or intentionally download incriminating data without your knowledge or permission.

Where you have been charged with dissemination or possession of child abuse material and you were unaware that you had the material, you may raise the defence of ‘lack of knowledge’ to prove that you were genuinely unaware of the material. You may also raise this defence where you realise that someone has downloaded child abuse material onto your computer, but you take immediate steps to get rid of it, such as deleting the files.

Approved Research

Sometimes, it is necessary to produce material depicting children for scientific, medical or educative purposes. In these cases, you may be able to raise the defence of ‘approved research,’ even where the material would otherwise be classified as child abuse material.

However, to effectively raise the defence of approved research, you must have obtained written permission from the Attorney-General to conduct the research. You must be able to present evidence of this permission in court should you wish to raise this defence.

Law Enforcement Officers

If you are a police officer, you may be required to examine and evaluate child abuse material to assist in a criminal investigation.

In cases where you are acting exclusively in your duty as a police officer in possessing or disseminating child abuse material, you may raise this defence in court.

However, it must be shown that your conduct was reasonable given the circumstances – for example, it would be unreasonable for you to download the material onto a personal computer for personal viewing purposes, or to disseminate the material to the general public.

Public Benefit

The defence of ‘public benefit’ is similar to that of law enforcement. In some cases, you may argue that the material was possessed or disseminated solely for the ‘benefit of the public.’

The law says that conduct will be for ‘public benefit’ where it was necessary to assist in enforcing the law, or where it was necessary to investigate or monitor a breach of the law, or to assist in the administration of justice. An example is where police ‘bait’ an offender by providing them with child abuse material in order to assist investigations.

Whether or not your actions were for the public benefit will be a matter for the court to decide. Your motives or intentions will not be relevant when assessing whether your actions were for the ‘public benefit.’

Classified material

The law requires all films, books and other explicit material to be classified or rated by government agencies.

In cases where the material in question was, or has subsequently been classified, you will be able to raise a defence to avoid a conviction.

What penalty could I face?

According to official sentencing statistics, the penalties that were imposed in cases of possess, produce or disseminate child abuse material were:

In determining the appropriate penalty, the court can consider things like:

Remember, you can greatly increase your chances of getting a favourable outcome by speaking to a specialised assault lawyer with the knowledge and experience to fight for you in court.

Sydney Criminal Lawyers® are a team of specialist defence lawyers with experience in fighting aggravated sexual assault cases.

We know how important your liberty is and we will fight to ensure that you get the best possible outcome.

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 ResultsSydney 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 SatisfactionWe 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 FirmWe 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 FeesWe 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 AppointmentFor 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 GuaranteeWe 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 CourtsFrom 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 SpecialistsOur 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 FirmOur 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 YouOur 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 JudgesEach 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. ConvenienceWe 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