Indecent images – 10 things you should know

If you are facing a police investigation regarding the possession of indecent images - here are 10 things you need to know

1. In some cases the police will arrest you, interview you at the police station and then bail you for months on end while they examine your computer equipment. More likely these days, the police will simply seize your equipment (further to a search and seizure warrant) and keep you waiting for months while they carry out their examination. They will then interview you, possibly by appointment. This may involve you being arrested for the purpose of interview even if you were not arrested when the search took place.

2. However the case commences, it is likely that an interview, or a second interview, will take place once the computer examination is complete.

3. The investigation process can take up to, and often more than, a year. This is because the police often send computer equipment to external agencies who carry out the forensic examination. Each of these agencies, and every police force, has a significant backlog of cases to get through. It may take more than six months for your case to be reached.

4. If indecent images are discovered on your devices then you will almost certainly be charged and bailed to attend court.  The first court you will be required to attend is the Magistrates’ Court. The vast majority of cases, but not all, will be sent to the Crown Court, whether for trial or for sentence.

5. If you decide to plead guilty, or if you are found guilty after a trial, the court will probably require a Pre-Sentence Report (PSR) on you by the Probation Service. The PSR will detail the offence and your views and understanding in relation to the offence. It will provide a summary of your personal history and any offending history. Finally, the PSR will contain the applicable sentencing options in your case and will make a recommendation to the court.
The starting point for sentence, in respect of “possession” of the most serious category of images, is 12 months’ imprisonment. The sentencing range is 6 months’ to 3 years’ imprisonment.

6. “Making” an image is not the same as “producing” the image. If you are charged with “making” images this is likely to relate to the downloading or printing of an image that was already in existence. The offence of making indecent images is sentenced in the same way as being in possession of indecent images.Distributing indecent images is treated more seriously than making / possessing them. Producing indecent images is more serious again.

7. If you have been arrested, charged or interviewed by the police in relation to indecent images, it is likely that the police will provide you with information regarding the Stop It Now campaign and the Lucy Faithful Foundation. If you accept involvement in the offence, these organisations can offer help and advice and are a very useful first point of contact.

8. If you are convicted of any offence relating to indecent images, it is likely that the court will impose a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) which will regulate your future access to, and use of, the internet.

9. The conviction will also require you to comply with the notification requirements of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, otherwise known as the Sex Offenders’ Register. The length of this requirement will depend on the sentence imposed and the period the SHPO will remain in force.

10. If you have been arrested or you are facing an investigation, in relation to offences of this nature, you will need legal advice. Old Bailey Solicitors will provide you with non-judgmental advice, assistance and representation in court. Contact us here.

 

Rod Hayler

Rod Hayler

Rod has specialised in criminal defence work since 1998. He is a trial advocate of 17 years’ experience and, as a Higher Courts Advocate, he represents clients in Crown Courts and in the Court of Appeal.

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