New Zealand national charged over alleged child abuse material offences

New_Zealand_national_arrested

***Editor’s note: Arrest footage available via Hightail.***

A 50-year-old New Zealand national accused of downloading and transmitting Child Abuse Material (CAM) is expected to face Wollongong Local Court today after an Australian Federal Police (AFP) operation.

The AFP began an investigation after receiving a referral from the United States based National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children that an internet user believed to be based in Australia had accessed CAM using a Google account.

Investigations by the AFP Eastern Command Child Protection Operations team identified a 50-year-old man living in Wollongong, was suspected to be using social media applications such as Facebook, Telegram, Wikr and Whatsapp to send and receive hundreds of videos and images of children being sexually abused.

AFP investigators executed a search warrant at the man’s home in the Wollongong suburb of Windang yesterday. Two mobile phones were seized for further digital forensic analysis.

The man was arrested and charged with:

  • Two counts of possess or control child abuse material obtained or accessed busing a carriage service contrary to section 474.22A of the Criminal Code (Cth); and
  • Three counts of use carriage service to transmit child abuse material contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(iii) of the Criminal Code (Cth).

The potential maximum penalty for the offences is 15 years’ imprisonment.

Detective Superintendent Ben McQuillan said the AFP is committed to tracking down and charging perpetrators who exploit vulnerable children.

“Child sex abuse offences committed online have real life consequences. Every time these images are viewed and shared, children are harmed. The AFP will continue to focus on the protection of children both nationally and internationally from anyone seeking to view this horrific abuse material,” Detective Superintendent McQuillan said.

“We are working tirelessly to protect these children and bring the offenders to justice.”

Note to media:

Use of term ‘CHILD ABUSE’ MATERIAL NOT ‘CHILD PORNOGRAPHY’

The correct legal term is Child Abuse Material – the move to this wording was among amendments to Commonwealth legislation in 2019 to more accurately reflect the gravity of the crimes and the harm inflicted on victims.

Use of the phrase "child pornography" is inaccurate and benefits child sex abusers because it:

  • indicates legitimacy and compliance on the part of the victim and therefore legality on the part of the abuser; and
  • conjures images of children posing in 'provocative' positions, rather than suffering horrific abuse.

Every photograph or video captures an actual situation where a child has been abused.

Media enquiries

AFP Media: (02) 5126 9297

National Security Hotline

Read the AFP Annual Report 2018-19

The Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation

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