While the internet has become an integral part of modern society, it is not without its dangers as illegal pornography is easily accessible even if you are not necessarily actively looking for it. As the authorities cannot completely restrict these images from being distributed it has become a problem online. If you have been accused of making and/or sharing an indecent image, then it can have very serious consequences which can lead to a lengthy prison sentence.
At Cartwright King, we understand that you may not have acquired or been associated with an indecent image by choice and will take a sensitive, non-judgemental approach to your case. We are available to assist you throughout the legal process and represent you in court if necessary.
Free Police Station advice
Everyone has the right to free legal advice when at the Police Station. Our experienced lawyers are available at any time of day or night to help you and make sure your position is protected and that your defence is properly presented. If you are arrested remember to tell the Police that you want to be represented by Cartwright King. Our highly skilled Criminal Defence team are here to take the worry off your hands. We can also provide an initial telephone consultation to see how we can assist in your case.
Indecent images and the law
Whether an image is properly described as “indecent” is something for the Jury to decide applying “recognised standards of propriety”. The test does not depend on what was in the mind of the person in possession of the image. Cases involving indecent images often but not always, involve images of children under the age of 18 years old. These can take several forms including video files, photographs or pseudo images. They may be held in computer code that can be converted into indecent material as either videos or photos.
According to the Protection of Children Act 1978 it is therefore illegal to make an indecent photograph (including pseudo-photographs) of children. Not only does this mean taking a photograph or making a video, but also distributing this material or advertising it to others are also offences.
It is vital to understand that downloading an indecent image falls under the action of ‘making’ and you are therefore at risk of being charged. If you have consciously downloaded this material from the internet onto your computer, then the Courts will take this as compelling evidence against you.
In most cases, analysis by a computer expert is required to establish how images came to be found on computers or digital equipment and whether or not you were responsible for those images. This enquiry will be required before any decision can be made about whether or not charges will be made against you.
What is ‘Revenge Porn’?
As of April 2015 new legislation was introduced by the government to make it illegal for people to share explicit images of others without their consent. This is usually done for the sole purpose of causing embarrassment and distress to the victim.
Putting this into practice, an example could be if a relationship ends and one of the former partners uploads explicit images of the other partner without their permission. Most commonly, this is uploaded on social media or sent to a third party via text message and if it is proven that this was done against the wishes of the other party, then it is likely to be investigated by the police and prosecution can follow.
If the victim of this crime is under the age of 18, then additional action could be considered under the Protection of Children Act 1978.
What sentence could you face?
In terms of sentencing, circumstances will be taken such as the nature of the images, if you yourself have created it and if you have been involved with distribution. There are three categories in relation to indecent image offences and the sentence imposed will be determined by reference to the categorisation. The details are shown in the table below:
|A||Explicit material involving penetration, sexual activity with an animal or sadism||Sharing explicit material involving penetration, sexual activity with an animal or sadism||Making images/videos involving penetration, sexual activity with an animal or sadism|
|B||Explicit material that is non-penetrative sexual activity||Sharing explicit material that is non-penetrative sexual activity||Making images/videos involving explicit material that is non-penetrative sexual activity|
|C||Explicit material involving erotic posing||Sharing explicit material that involves erotic posing||Making images/videos that involves erotic posing|
Depending on the circumstances and which category applies, you could receive a prison sentence from 6 months to 10 years.
If you have been charged with an offence involving ‘revenge porn’, then you can face a maximum of 6 months imprisonment if sentenced in the Magistrates Court and up to 2 years if sentenced by the Crown Court.
If you have been charged with any of the above offences, it is essential that you seek expert legal advice as early as possible. If you are arrested you are entitled in law to be legally represented at the Police Station. You should always insist that the Police contact Cartwright King and not speak to the Police until you have had chance to consult with one of our experienced team. Cartwright King’s Defence Solicitors are available to advise you day and night and through the legal proceedings and represent you in court if necessary making sure that the strongest defence case is put forward for you. They will also advise about your right to appeal should the need arise.
How can we help you?
If you have been accused of being involved with indecent images, our experienced Criminal Defence Solicitors are available to advise you throughout the entire process and build a strong case for your defence. We promise to:
- Advise you throughout the entire process
- Treat your case in a non-judgemental, sensitive manner
- Seek legal aid for you subject to your finances
- Deal confidentially with any concerns you may have
- Represent you in interview under caution by the police
- Prepare and collate any and all documentary evidence that may be required
- Represent you in both Magistrates and Crown Court as necessary
- Take the worry off your hands
- Prepare an appeal if necessary
Our team are highly ranked in the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners guides. We have extensive experience in successfully defending those who have been accused of making and/or sharing indecent images.
At Cartwright King our experienced lawyers will always advise you whether or not Legal Aid is available to fund your defence.
In order to be eligible you have to be able to pass two tests;
- First you must show that it is in the interests of justice that Legal Aid be granted to you. This might be because to establish your case will involve expert cross examination of witnesses by our lawyers, or because you are at risk of imprisonment, or that you suffer from some disability.
- Secondly you must pass a means test. This is based on the weekly income of yourself and your partner. There are slightly different rules depending on whether your case is to be heard at the Magistrates or Crown Court and the complexity of the provisions. Regardless, we are happy to take your details and advise whether you might qualify.
If unfortunately you do not qualify for Legal Aid we will always provide a competitive quotation to deal with your case on a private basis and can agree a payment plan with you to assist you and your family secure the best possible representation for you.
Why Choose Us?
At Cartwright King, our solicitors understand the devastating consequences that being accused of making and/or sharing indecent images could have for you, your reputation and your family. We are available to support you throughout the entire process, explaining the likely outcomes and to keeping the case as private as possible.
How to make contact
Always insist on representation by one of our lawyers if you are arrested. Remember that advice at the Police Station is free and will not delay your release.
If you require legal advice or if you would like a no obligation, free initial telephone discussion, then please call us on 0808 168 5550. Alternatively you can email the Criminal Defence team using the form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Our Criminal Defence Solicitors can provide advice and are happy to meet at a time and location that suits you. We also have a network of offices in Birmingham, Bedford, Bolton, Derby, Leeds, Leicester, London Temple, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Northampton, Nottingham, Sheffield and Worcester.