Amended legislation has been introduced into the Northern Territory parliament which will give law enforcement agencies the power to destroy all child abuse material, even if a person is found not guilty.
The <i>Criminal Code Amendment (Child Abuse Material) Bill</i> is designed to correct a loophole in current legislation where child abuse content can only be destroyed if someone is convicted.
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NT Attorney General John Elferink said that additional powers will be granted to police which will allow them to destroy computers, mobile phones and other electronic devices that contain abusive content.
“The process will also occur in cases where no one is charged due to difficulties in identifying who downloaded, created, viewed or possessed the material,” he said in a statement.
“It is illegal to possess, distribute, produce or sell child abuse material and anyone involved in this conduct will not only be punished, but also lose their valuable devices.”
According to Elferink, the destruction of material will provide greater assurance for the child and family involved that it will not re-emerge in the future.
Possession of child abuse material in the Northern Territory carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment, while a person found guilty of using a child for the purpose of producing the material faces up to14 years in jail.
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