Tasmanian man charged with alleged child abuse material offences

A Tasmanian man has been charged with offences relating to his alleged possession and dealings with child abuse material.

The man, 40, appeared in the Launceston Magistrates Court yesterday (3 April, 2024) after being charged by the Tasmania Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (TAS JACET) and is next expected to appear in court on 26 April.

TAS JACET charged the man yesterday after investigating a report from the United States’ National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) about an Australian online user allegedly engaging with a minor via social media to solicit child abuse material.

Members of the TAS JACET, comprises of officers from the AFP and Tasmania Police, executed a search warrant at the man’s Kings Meadows residence on 26 March, 2024. Investigators allegedly found child abuse images and videos, as well as messages with minors, stored on the man’s mobile phone. The phone will be subject of further forensic examination.

AFP Detective Sergeant Aaron Hardcastle said the AFP worked closely with its national and international law enforcement partners to protect children from harm.

“Trading these images is not a victimless crime. Children are not commodities to be used for the abhorrent gratification of sexual predators.”

“Our message to online offenders has not changed – if you procure, access and transmit child abuse material, you will be found, arrested and prosecuted.”

The man was charged with:

  • One count of possessing child abuse material obtained or accessed using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22A of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth); and
  • One count of using a carriage service to access child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).

The maximum penalty for these offences is 15 years’ imprisonment.

The man is scheduled to reappear in the Launceston Magistrates Court on 26 April, 2024.

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 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.

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