The recent wave of arrests of individuals suspected of accessing indecent images of children is nothing new. A decade ago, Operation Ore traced through credit card purchases of those who were attempting to actively purchase such images from online suppliers. These images are now readily available online and anyone who takes their computer in to repair, or hands back a work-issued computer is at risk of being reported for downloading such material.
Many accused of possessing or making such images plead guilty, especially if there is evidence to support the allegations, for example, relevant search engine terms used or a large number of images of a certain type found or that the images have been saved in particular files.
Many don’t even know they’ve downloaded indecent images as they have appeared as thumbnails at the bottom of the screen. Others may have a curious teenager or a house sitter in the family home who is looking at images which turn out to be of an indecent nature. Many images that are alleged to be indecent simply are not, for example, children in paddling pools or naturist videos.
Often police seize computers having obtained a warrant and remove them for forensic analysis. If the material of concern is found they will seek to question the prime user of that machine either by pre-arranged appointment or arrest. They will only do this if they find images which form part of the Copine scale, which grades the images 1-5 depending upon seriousness. If the images are found on that machine, criminal charges are likely to follow.
If you are convicted possessing such material, depending on volume and seriousness, you can, but not always, face a prison term and will automatically be required to sign on the sex offenders register. Sometimes you will be made subject to a SOPO ( sexual offences prevention order).
How can BSB help?
We have a track record of representing professionals, such as the civil servant against whom the prosecution had to drop their case in face of scientific evidence obtained by us to disprove their case or the local councillor, whose reputation was in tatters as a result of material found on his hard drive. We have substantial experience in dealing and analysing these cases, working with teams of leading forensic experts and counsel. We can with experts analyse the images and challenge where appropriate, the prosecution grading of the images.