Thursday, May 30, 2024

Darwin man to face child abuse charges in two states

A 56-year-old Darwin man is facing charges in two states for alleged child abuse offences after a Northern Territory Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (NT JACET) investigation.

The man appeared in the Darwin Magistrates Court yesterday on two charges, after he was first arrested in Sydney last week.

The NT JACET, comprising members from the AFP and Northern Territory Police, began an investigation in November 2023, after a referral from the United States’ Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) about an Australian producing and distributing child abuse material online.

Police allegedly linked the Darwin man to the illegal activity and he was arrested in NSW on Friday when he returned to Australia on an international flight.  

Australian Border Force (ABF) officers searched the man’s luggage on his arrival at Sydney Airport  and police will allege that child abuse material and messages about offending were located on the man’s mobile device.

The man is due to appear in the Sydney Downing Centre Local Court on April 4th to face child abuse material charges.

The man then flew back to the Northern Territory, where NT JACET investigators executed a search warrant at his Darwin home.

They seized electronic devices including a mobile phone, hard drive, laptops and tablet. Initial forensic analysis of the man’s electronic devices allegedly identified hundreds of child abuse images and videos.

NT JACET arrested and charged the man on Saturday with two counts of possessing child abuse material. The maximum penalty for the offence is 15 years’ imprisonment.

AFP Superintendent Gregory Davis said the AFP was committed to working with local and international law enforcement partners to protect children and identify those who tried to harm them, no matter where they were in the world.

“We are working closely with our partners to ensure we are finding offenders and bringing them before the courts,’’ he said.

“Child exploitation is not a victimless crime. Children are not commodities to be used for the abhorrent gratification of sexual predators.”

ABF Acting Superintendent, Carolina Bugedo, said her officers would continue to work closely with the AFP and other stakeholders to combat this crime type.

“The ABF is committed to protecting the Australian community and also to protecting children wherever they may be, from the scourge of child abuse material,” she said.

“Our message to those who may be tempted to engage in this appalling activity is simple. Together with our partners we will detect this and you can expect to face the full legal consequences for your actions.”

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