NT man charged in two states for alleged child abuse offences

A Darwin man is facing charges in two states for alleged
child abuse offences after a Northern Territory Joint Anti Child Exploitation
Team (NT JACET) investigation.

The man, 56, appeared in the Darwin Magistrates Court
yesterday (20 February, 2024) on two charges, after he was first arrested in
Sydney last week (16, February 2024).

The NT JACET, comprising members from the AFP and Northern
Territory Police, began an investigation in November 2023, after a referral
from the United States’ Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) about an
Australian producing and distributing child abuse material online.

Police allegedly linked the Darwin man to the illegal activity and he was arrested in NSW on Friday (16 February, 2024) when he returned to
Australia on an international

Australian Border Force (ABF) officers searched the man’s
luggage on his arrival at Sydney Airport  and police will allege that child abuse
material and messages about offending were located on the man’s mobile device.

The ABF alerted the AFP Child Protection Operations Team and
as a result of further inquiries and forensic examination of the man’s mobile
device, the AFP issued him a court attendance notice for:

Using a carriage service to solicit child abuse
material, contrary to section 474.22(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth);

Using a carriage service to access child abuse
material, contrary to section 474.22 of the Criminal
Code 1995 (Cth).

The man is due to appear in the Sydney Downing Centre Local
Court on 4 April, 2024.

He then flew back to the Northern Territory.

On the same day the man had returned to Australia (16,
February 2024), NT JACET investigators executed a search warrant at his Darwin

They seized electronic devices including a mobile phone, hard
drive, laptops and tablet for forensic examination.

Initial forensic analysis of the man’s electronic devices
allegedly identified hundreds of child abuse images and videos.

NT JACET arrested and charged the man on Saturday (17,
February 2024) with:

Two counts of p​ossessing and controlling child
abuse material, obtained or accessed using a carriage service, contrary to
section 474.22A of the Criminal Code 1995

The maximum penalty for the offence is 15 years’

AFP Superintendent Gregory Davis said the AFP was committed
to working with local and international law enforcement partners to protect
children and identify those who tried to harm them, no matter where they were
in the world.

“We are working closely with our partners to ensure we are
finding offenders and bringing them before the courts,” he said.

“Child exploitation is not a victimless crime. Children are
not commodities to be used for the abhorrent gratification of sexual

ABF Acting Superintendent, Carolina Bugedo, said her
officers would continue to work closely with the AFP and other stakeholders to
combat this crime type.

“The ABF is committed to protecting the Australian community
and also to protecting children wherever they may be, from the scourge of child
abuse material,” she said.

“Our message to those who may be tempted to engage in this
appalling activity is simple. Together with our partners we will detect this
and you can expect to face the full legal consequences for your actions.”

The AFP and its partners are committed to stopping child
exploitation and abuse and the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (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

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

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

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