A 22-year-old faced the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Friday 26 February, charged with allegedly possessing child abuse material.
The Victorian Joint-Anti Child Exploitation Team (JACET) began an investigation into the man’s online activities following reports that a user of a website was accessing child abuse material.
The report was referred to investigators by the AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) who identified a Melbourne man as the alleged user of this service.
The Hampton Park man was arrested on Thursday 25 February by members of the Victorian JACET. Following the execution of a search warrant, investigators allegedly found child abuse material stored on the man’s laptop.
Police seized the 22-year-old’s laptop and mobile phone which will be subject to further digital forensic examination.
The man was granted bail the same day, to appear before Melbourne Magistrates Court charged with ‘using a carriage service to possess child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22A(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)’.
The maximum penalty for this offence is 15 years’ imprisonment.
AFP Commander Todd Hunter said this arrest was another reminder of the commitment undertaken by the AFP and its partners to protect children and identify and prosecute anyone who seeks to exploit and harm them.
“Anyone who produces or shares child abuse material is part of the problem, it is they who create the market for child abuse material online, which causes further harm to our community’s most vulnerable – our children,” he said.
“This arrest should serve as a warning law enforcement is dedicated to fighting child sexual abuse and bringing those who commit these offences before the court.”
Members of the public who have any information about people involved in child abuse and exploitation are urged to call Crime stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Reports can also be made online by alerting the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation via the Report Abuse button at www.accce.gov.au/report