WA Man Charged Over Alleged Online Child Abuse Offences

The Western Australia Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (WA JACET) has charged a Perth man for allegedly possessing and accessing child abuse material.

The man, 30, appeared before the Perth Magistrates Court on Monday 13 May, 2024.

Investigations began after Australian Border Force (ABF) officers at Melbourne International Airport examined the man’s baggage when he arrived on board a flight from overseas on Friday 10 May, 2024.

Further inquiries resulted in ABF officers alerting the AFP to commence an investigation

Officers from the WA JACET, which comprises AFP and Western Australia Police Force, arrested the man at Perth Airport when his flight arrived from Melbourne that afternoon.

They executed a search warrant at his Belmont home and seized a computer, USB drive, and two passports in relation to the investigation

Initial analysis of the devices allegedly revealed the man had accessed child abuse material online and saved the material to his USB drive.

The man was charged with:

  • Two counts of possessing or controlling child abuse material obtained or accessed using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22A(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth); and
  • Five counts of accessing child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

The maximum penalty for each of the offences is 15 years’ imprisonment.

He is next due to appear on 26 June, 2024.

AFP Acting Sergeant Anastacia Cutler said anyone who viewed child abuse material contributed to the harm of children.

“This is not a victimless crime. Every time this material is viewed, it perpetuates the cycle of abuse against these children,” she said.

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

ABF Inspector Costas Karatzas said ABF officers work with the utmost diligence to disrupt the efforts of travellers possessing and attempting to import abhorrent child abuse material.

“It is a tragedy that this material exists, but the work of our highly skilled officers is critical to stop its spread in our community,” ABF Inspector Karatzas said.

“There is no place for child abuse material and ABF officers will stop those offenders at the border.”

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.

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