Internet offences require specialist skills and expertise.
- We have experience in representing individuals where computer evidence is central to the allegations, or where IT usage is the allegation faced.
- We are skilled in analysing computer material and will highlight the areas of the case which will need expert scrutiny.
- We will instruct suitable Experts to provide us with the evidence often needed to disprove or shed doubt on the charges.
Whilst society has been greatly assisted by technological advances over the past 20 years criminal offences and the detection of criminal offences have increased.
There is no specific set of offences referred to internet crimes, however, there are several that are now being committed using the internet either on the open or dark web, this will range from trading counterfeit products using auction sites, purchasing goods using clones details through to offences relating to child pornography.
When an individual is suspected of a serious offence, the police inevitably look to seize their computers and other devices in order to access communications and internet searches .
Whilst accessing child pornography is the easiest to identify example of material being found on computers, the police also have specialists who examine computers belonging to individuals accused of fraudulent dealing, cheating the revenue, drug offences, trafficking offences and trading standards prosecutions.
Where the prosecution seeks to rely on evidence found on computers or telephones, we will if appropriate instruct an expert to conduct an independent examination of the relevant hardware. We will be looking for the digital footprint in order to demonstrate that not everything is as it may appear in the police expert’s report.
There are three offences that can be committed:
We have represented a number of clients who have had indecent images of children or extreme pornography found on their computers or devices meaning on the face of it that they are guilty of possession.
The mere opening up of a file or photo containing child pornography creates an offence of “making an indecent image“, this can be done without realising as the image appears as a small jpeg on a page containing other images. Similarly were someone to send a picture over the internet or “What’s App”, the act of opening that photo is the creation of that image and indeed if it is forwarded you are committing an equally serious offence of “distributing” that image.
If the image was a one-off and it is clear that the suspect did not intend to open it and indeed he or she attempted to delete it we would seek to argue that it is not appropriate to prosecute.
The prosecution expert when examining a computer will look at the individual’s internet search history to see if they had made a positive attempt to search for these images. This is an indicator of intentional possession /making rather than accidental. Also they will look for any evidence of file sharing either as a recipient or a sharer.
There have been occasions where we have successfully defended people on the basis that others had access to the computer, unfortunately, this is less applicable as more access to the internet is obtained by personal devices.
The experts we instruct will not only look at how the image came to be on the device but also whether the prosecution expert has correctly classified the images. Presentation of such a report can often assist in a successful challenge to the prosecutor’s case.
We have represented individuals from all walks of life accused of these offences. Professionals, politicians, civil servants and even school children who have technically committed an offence by sending photographs of each other. The consequences of a criminal record for these type of offences can be far reaching, and it is why it is important that at an early stage to establish whether we can stop these cases going to court.
These offences are divided into three categories
- Images involving penetrative sexual activity.
- Images involving non-penetrative sexual activity.
- Images that are simply of a sexual nature.
The sentences available to the court rage from 9 years for offences of distributing images that fall into category A , through to community order for less serious offences involving possession of images in category A, B or C. The variables are too great to set out on this page, but we are happy to discuss your scenario with you in person.
Contact Jon Black for more advice on how we can defend you or telephone us on 0207 837 3456