NSW North Coast man charged with producing child abuse material

A Hastings Valley man is expected to appear in Port Macquarie Local Court on 22 February, 2024, charged with a raft of child abuse-related offences.

The AFP charged the man on 21 December, 2023, with assistance from the New South Wales Police Force Child Abuse Squad.

It will be alleged the man abused a child known to him and produced and uploaded child abuse material to online forums.

The man was charged with a total of 66 offences including:

  • Nine counts of sexual intercourse with child under ten, contrary to Section 66A of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)
  • One count of aggravated use carriage service to transmit child abuse material contrary to Section 474.24A of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth)
  • Three counts of using a carriage service to transmit, make available, publish, distribute or promote child abuse material contrary to Section 474.22(1)(a)(iii) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth)
  • Forty six counts of producing child abuse material contrary to Section 91H(2) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)
  • Four counts of sexual touching of child under 10 (DV) contrary to Section 66DA(a) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)
  • One count of inciting a child under 10 years of age to sexually touch them (DV) contrary to Section 66DA(b) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)
  • One count of possessing or controlling child abuse material obtained or accessed using a carriage service contrary to Section 474.22A of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth)
  • One count of using a carriage service to access child abuse material contrary Section 474.22(1)(a)(i) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth)

The maximum penalty for the first two offences is life imprisonment.

The man came to police attention after the AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) Victim Identification Team identified child abuse material on the dark web in late-November 2023.

AFP victim identification specialists reviewed images and videos frame-by-frame and determined they were likely produced in Australia.

Victim identification specialists linked the Hastings Valley man to the alleged illegal online activity.

A search warrant was executed at the man’s home on Thursday, 21 December, with investigators allegedly finding child abuse material on electronic devices. The devices will be subject to further forensic examination.

Investigators also seized a number of items which it will be alleged were seen in the online child abuse material assisting law enforcement in identifying the victim and alleged offender.

AFP Commander Human Exploitation Helen Schneider said AFP victim identification specialists provided a specialist capability to support child exploitation investigations.

“This matter exemplifies the critical role their determination and expertise plays in identifying child victims of exploitation and their perpetrators,” Commander Schneider said.

“The AFP, together with its state and territory law enforcement partners, remained committed to protecting our community’s most vulnerable – our children.

“Our investigators across the country work tirelessly to ensure offenders allegedly abusing children are prosecuted.

“This arrest shows how the AFP and its partners are dedicated to fighting child sexual abuse year-round. It is also a stark reminder that when police identify a child in a potentially-dangerous situation, we will move quickly and decisively to ensure that child’s safety and pursue anyone producing, sharing or accessing this abhorrent material.”

NSWPF Detective Superintendent Linda Howlett said law enforcement were united in their fight against child abuse.

“The safety of children is our number one priority and, together with the AFP, will use every capability we have to protect them.”

About Victim Identification:

Victim identification involves the detailed analysis of images and videos to identify and locate victims of child sexual abuse.

The AFP victim identification specialists are a dedicated group of investigators, who work together with victim identification specialists around the country as well as internationally to find victims of child abuse in the shortest time possible.

Under the National Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Child Sexual Abuse (2021-2030) the AFP has expanded its victim identification capability, co-locating victim identification specialists with Joint Anti Child Exploitation and Child Protection Operation Teams around the country. This enables victim identification specialist to work alongside investigators creating a national capability that enhances efforts to identify child victims of online child sexual abuse.

About the ACCCE:

The AFP and its partners are committed to stopping child exploitation and abuse and the ACCCE is driving a collaborative national approach to combatting child abuse.

The ACCCE brings together specialist expertise and skills in a central hub, supporting investigations into online child sexual exploitation and developing prevention strategies focused on creating a safer online environment.

Members of the public who have information about people involved in child abuse are urged to contact the ACCCE at www.accce.gov.au/report. If you know abuse is happening right now or a child is at risk, call police immediately on 000.

If you or someone you know is impacted by child sexual abuse and online exploitation, support services are available at www.accce.gov.au/support.

Research conducted by the ACCCE in 2020 revealed only about half of parents talked to their children about online safety. Advice and support for parents and carers about how they can help protect children online can be found at www.thinkuknow.org.au, an AFP-led education program designed to prevent online child sexual exploitation.

/Public Release. View in full here.