Have you been sent unsolicited indecent images ?
It is a not uncommon event. Your mobile phone or tablet is open to the world. You are on Instagram, Facebook, Snap Chat and Twitter. You have many friends. Unknown to you, you have many potential contacts who are “friends of friends”. You are a member of more than one group.
Out of the blue unsolicited messages start to appear on your phone. They contain potentially unlawful pornographic material. You delete the messages. You hard reset your device. You think no more about it. The messages keep coming, those with addresses you recognise you delete. Others you open. Some you open by accident and given the content immediately delete.
One day you are driving. Your phone is on your passenger seat and a watchful policeman pulls you over and asks if you were using your phone. You say not but he asks to have look. You are not familiar with the law and you agree as you have nothing to hide. The PC opens the first message and you are arrested for possession of indecent images. What now?
Indecent images the law
The law is complex and just because you have not looked at the images and have deleted them may not stop a charge being brought. There are a number of offences that the police could, with CPS agreement bring. They include causing an image to exist, producing an indecent image and bringing about an indecent image. The range is wide and the CPS may take the view that an offence has been committed by simply storing the image on your phone, or possibly distributing it if you have for example an Apple cloud account.
We have been successful in defending indecent images cases where clients have unwittingly opened messages containing indecent unlawful material. What is crucial is that advice is sought at the very earliest moment so that you can:
- make an informed decision as to how to respond in police interviews under caution.
- Instruct us to make representations in writing that you should not be charged
- evaluate the best course of action in your defence
If charged with indecent images offence then expert advice and representation including specialist advocates is essential. The consequences of conviction are serious. They include the possibility of prison and a requirement to register on the Sex Offender Register as well as loss of reputation.
Moss & Co have extensive experience in handling these delicate and difficult cases. If you require advice we can provide a sympathetic and completely discreet service whether under public funding or privately.
Contact our partner Jamie Ritchie for an initial discussion 0208 986 8336.