Proctor : June 2017
7 PROCTOR | June 2017 News Children make up almost 50% of the more than 3000 Queenslanders arrested and charged with child pornography offences over the past decade, according to a State Government agency study. The study also found that, of the 1470 children dealt with by Queensland police in relation to child pornography, more than 45% were young girls and the prevalent type of crimes committed related to ‘sexting’ explicit material via electronic devices such as mobile phones. The Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council ‘Spotlight’ study focused on all of the sentencing outcomes for offences related to producing, possessing and distributing ‘child exploitation material’ (CEM) between 1 July 2006, and 30 June 2016. The study found that 3035 offenders were charged with a total of 8198 CEM-related offences and dealt with by the criminal justice system over the 10-year period. “(Of these) 1470 young offenders were dealt with by Queensland Police Service (QPS) via a caution of conference,” a council statement said. “(A total of) 1565 offenders were sentenced in Queensland courts, including 28 young offenders. “Young people were predominantly diverted by QPS for sexting-based offences.” The phenomenon of sexting was first popularised with the introduction of the mobile phone Short Messaging Service (SMS) and digital sharing functions, and relates to sending, receiving, or forwarding sexually explicit messages, photographs or images. It may also include the use of a computer or any electronic digital device. Commonwealth laws dictate that a child under the 17 can be convicted of possessing or distributing child pornography material images or video of themselves or their peers, including those that have been taken or shared consensually. Under Queensland criminal laws, CEM includes anything that depicts a child under 16 in a sexual context or setting. “The average age of a (child) dealt with by QPS diversion (rather than the courts) was 14.8 years,” the statement said. “Of all the young people diverted by QPS, the vast majority were dealt with via a formal caution (92.9%), with only 7.1% attending a youth justice conference. “Male offenders comprised 54.8%, while female offenders comprised 45.2%.” – Tony Keim Almost half of child porn offenders are children Coast firms merge as Sajen Legal Sunshine Coast law firms Sajen Legal and Ferguson Cannon Lawyers have announced a merger, bringing together almost 50 years of combined practice. The firms, with offices in Brisbane and Hong Kong, joined forces on 2 May as Sajen Legal with directors Kyle Kimball, Glenn Ferguson AM, Angelo Venardos and Timothy Borham. “After a combined history of almost 50 years, we’ve decided that it’s time to join forces,” Mr Kimball said. “Glenn Ferguson and I worked together as young lawyers and we’ve maintained a friendship ever since, lasting more than 20 years. It’s at last time to do business together rather than in opposition.” Mr Ferguson said that the firm would continue to focus on business law while adding more depth and variety to its services. Sajen Legal is based at Level 1, 2 Emporio Place, Maroochydore, and retains offices in Brisbane and Hong Kong.