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Indecent Images Defence
If you have been accused of possessing, distributing or producing indecent images, this area of law is highly sensitive and those embroiled in cases related to such matters often endure a very stressful time. At JMW, we promise to provide all the help we can to ease you through the process, offering support and understanding despite the nature of the allegations.
We offer a private client law service that has been recognised as top tier by both the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners. Our specialist solicitors provide the best possible representation and advice.
The team is also aware that people can be the target of malicious allegations; therefore, we always treat our clients with respect and total confidentiality. We also ensure we provide assistance to limit the impact that such investigations can have on your family, friends and life in general.
How JMW Can Help
In cases relating to indecent images or unsuitable photographs of children, the prosecution must prove the images are inappropriate and that possessing them was deliberate. Sentences are decided by a number of factors, including:
- The number of images in your possession
- The type and level of images
- The age of the subject(s) in the imagery
- The vulnerability of the subject(s) in the imagery
- The pain or distress suffered by the subject(s)
The more images in your possession, the greater chance of a stricter penalty upon conviction.
JMW can help you with allegations of possessing indecent images, which can have severe, far-reaching consequences that impact your career, relationships and reputation. Our team is experienced in conducting thorough examinations of evidence, which can include forensic computer analysis, to build a strong defence or mitigation.
Types of Indecent Images
Indecent images are photographs, videos and files that have been judged as inappropriate by the court. There are three categories outlined by the Sexual Offences Definitive Guideline:
- Category A includes imagery showing penetrative sexual activity
- Category B includes imagery showing non-penetrative sexual activity
- Category C includes imagery showing erotic posing
It is also a criminal act to produce or distribute indecent imagery. This includes pseudo photographs, which is when an image is created to look like a genuine photograph taken by a camera.
The assessment of severity is often referred to as the ‘COPINE Scale’.
FAQs About Indecent Images
What are the penalties for possessing or distributing indecent images?
Penalties range from community orders to prison sentences of up to 10 years. In addition to penalties, you may be added to the Sex Offender’s Register.
What should I do if I’ve been accused of an offence involving indecent images?
To avoid the risk of saying or doing anything that could undermine your defence, it is important that you are aware of your rights when being interviewed by police in connection to indecent images.
Your rights include:
- Not having to answer any questions asked by the police
- Not answering any questions by the police without a solicitor present
- Free legal representation from the duty solicitor or one of your choosing
Following a police interview, one of the following will occur:
- You will be released with no further action taken against you
- You will be released but required to attend the police station at a later date
- You will be released under investigation
- You will be charged with a specific offence
If you are released with no further action or under investigation, it is important to note that you can be rearrested or summoned to attend court at a later date.
What defences are available for accusations of possessing or distributing indecent images?
As an incredibly complex and sensitive area of law, it is important that you seek representation and assistance from a solicitor with the appropriate knowledge to help you.
Outside of the general defences that apply to accusations of criminal behaviour, Section 160 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 sets out possible defences, including:
- Having a legitimate reason for having the images in your possession
- Receiving the images but not seeing and not knowing, nor any cause to suspect, that it was indecent
- Receiving an image(s) without any prior request and that did not keep it for an unreasonable amount of time
Similar defences fall to be considered where someone is charged with an offence under Section 1 of the Protection of Children Act 1978.
The defences available have been refined and developed through case law (also known as Authorities). It is important these are understood and applied to your case in the correct manner.
Our solicitors will carefully consider all of the evidence, listen and obtain your instructions and advise you on your options. If you intend to plead guilty, it is still crucial that your solicitor puts forward compelling mitigation to reduce your sentence.