In at least 97% of cases, a person will plead guilty to their offences resulting in a sentence. As these types of offences are not uncommon, mistakes can sometimes be made in relation to the charge or the facts. As a result, we may be required to negotiate one or more of the charges and the facts of those charge/s with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Our role at Aegis Criminal Law goes beyond negotiation to working with our clients. We aim to achieve the best available outcome in a person’s circumstances. A common concern for many clients is the likely penalty which could be imposed. To address that, there are a few considerations.
The law typically recognises that a term of imprisonment must generally be regarded as a last resort and that it is preferable for someone to remain in the community. However, under the Penalties and Sentences Act, this does not apply to offences involving children, which includes CEM related charges. That being said, it should also be noted that there is no mandatory penalty of imprisonment for CEM related offending, and it is possible to receive a non-custodial sentence. In relation to penalty, there are a number of considerations under the Penalties and Sentences Act, which the court ought to take into consideration.
Nature of Material
The nature of the material will usually assess the appearance age of the child and the activity shown. In Queensland the material will be classified through to assessing the appearance age, as well as the nature and serious of the seized material. The results of this assessment are provided to the Queensland Police Service in the form as a C4P case report. The case report previously relied upon the Oliver Scale, which would classify the material across five categories in terms of seriousness. In more recent cases, to satisfy the requirements of section 9(7) of the Act, there have been examples of the details of from the seized material to be relied upon at sentencing. This includes the nature of the material, including the apparent age and activity depicted.
Age and Character
In our experience and according to the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council, a person charged with a CEM related offence typically a male between 30 and 50 years of age. We note that people who are charged with this offence are often employed full-time and that on some occasions, the alleged offending may be out-of-character.
To further assess the penalty, the court may also have regard to antecedents. The antecedents is information about the person charged and may be provided in the form medical, psychiatric and/or any other relevant report. This enables the court to assess the prospects of rehabilitation, including the availability of any medical or psychiatrist treatment to cause the offender to behave in a way that is acceptable to the community.