Specialist defence solicitors for Indecent Images offences
Olliers’ team of specialist lawyers can assist you if you are under investigation for indecent images offences.
We have many years of experience of dealing with allegations of indecent images and understand that for many individuals it may be their first involvement with the criminal justice system. We understand how daunting the situation may be for you. We promise not to judge and seek to work together to achieve the best outcome for you. We aim to explain the process and procedures to you in clear and unambiguous language whilst at the same understanding the anxiety you face at the situation ahead.
What are indecent images?
With the advent of the internet and social media the nature of these offences has changed over the years and the courts now grade the images from Category A (most serious) to Category C and whether such images were simply in possession or were distributed. The sentences vary depending on the categorisation and number of images.
What are the categories of indecent images?
There are three categories imposed in relation to indecent images:
- Category A: Explicit material involving penetration, sexual activity with an animal or sadism.
- Category B: Explicit material that is non-penetrative sexual activity.
- Category C: Explicit material involving erotic posing.
This categorisation is relatively new but the defences to allegations of possession and distribution remain the same.
Have you had electronic devices seized?
Few things can be more stressful for an individual than to have the several police officers attend at their home address armed with warrants for the seizure of computers, tablets and mobile phone. The police will have obtained a warrant for the seizure of equipment believed to contain indecent, prohibited or extreme pornographic material. They will be gathering evidence in connection with making and/or possessing indecent images of children and the possession of extreme pornographic material.
Attendance at a property is without warning and may take place in front of family members and be witnessed by neighbours and in some case by work colleagues. In some circumstances the police carry out an arrest, although not always. A person is frequently left in limbo, awaiting the outcome of the analysis of seized items – a process that can take between six and 12 months.
How can Olliers help me?
At Olliers we regularly speak to clients who have had computer equipment and phones seized by the police. On the one hand it is a waiting game but there is still a lot that can be done.
We always ensure that we make early contact with the police. We will confirm the anticipated timeframe for the investigation with the police and obtain an assurance that any further contact will be through Olliers, ensuring that there is no embarrassment caused by a police visit to home or workplace.
We can discuss with our clients the circumstances that may have led to their material being seized. We will give our clients an opportunity to discuss any anxiety they may feel. Many want to discuss worst case scenarios and we can advise on the different offences of possessing, distributing and producing indecent images. We can also explain the different categories of offences as well as current sentencing guidelines.
- Will I go to prison if I am found guilty of indecent images?
- Are you under investigation in relation to indecent images?
- Read more about how Olliers can help you during the investigative stage of proceedings.
- Indecent images and group chats
- Can my child be prosecuted for sharing indecent images?
- Is sending unsolicited images illegal?
- Analysis of electronic devices
- Why do the police think I am involved in illegal online sex offending
- How are electronic devices forensically analysed?
- Kik investigations
What can be done at this stage?
Olliers can assist with mitigating features, which can include;
- previous good character and/or exemplary conduct
- age and/or lack of maturity
- mental disorder or learning disability
- evidence of steps taken to address offending or seek help
If a client recognises that they may need help we can point them in the direction of organisations that can help at a very early stage. If a client is charged and is ultimately advised to plead guilty, evidence of any early help sought can be powerful mitigation.
Will I be charged with an offence of indecent images?
In some circumstances, images may be of low level category and we may look to argue that a prosecution is not in the public interest. This may be particularly relevant to a case where a client may have sought help for a problem and where there is other, powerful mitigation. The best time to do this is before charge but it can also be done after charge.
I have already been charged with indecent images
If you have already been charged with indecent images or received a postal requisition we advise that you seek advice and representation from a specialist solicitor on an immediate basis. We can obtain the initial evidence from the prosecution and advise you immediately in relation to the strength of the evidence and sentencing powers available to the court.
Olliers Solicitors cover all courts across England and Wales.
If you have had computer equipment seized and are under investigation for indecent images offences, there is no public funding available, except for a police interview under caution. However this is a crucial time and action taken at this stage can make a fundamental difference to the outcome. Our lawyers try to be as transparent as possible in relation to fees. We will charge fees based upon an hourly rate as agreed from the outset and provide estimates as to total likely costs. These estimates will be regularly updated. Alternatively, we may agree a fee for representing you either in respect of a particular stage of a case or for the case in its entirety.
- Client A: Client A had a successful career. However, during the space of a few months he lost his job and his wife left him taking his children. Client A began drinking heavily and started to visiting adult forums. Unfortunately, some of the forums he visited contained indecent images. He was visited by the police and devices were seized. Client A contacted Olliers. Instructions were taken and he was signposted to professionals for help with his behaviour. Olliers established and maintained contact with the police. Client A participated in coursework and sessions to address his behaviour. Following forensic analysis of the seized devices, Olliers made representations against prosecution. Client A was not prosecuted, instead he was given a conditional caution and he is now able to move forward with his life.
- Client B: Client B was a single man who lived alone. Over time he developed an interest in online forums and received a number of indecent images. The police attended his home address and seized devices. Following police involvement, client B approached Olliers. He was signposted to a number of agencies and undertook significant steps to address his behaviour. In the meantime, Olliers maintained constant contact with the police. Upon examination of seized material, Category C images were discovered. Representations were made based upon the circumstances of the offending and the category of the images. It was argued that it was not in the public interest for Client B to be prosecuted. We were successful and a conditional caution was given.
- Client C: Client C was a young man who had police attend at his home address and seize his electronic devices. He took initial advice from another firm that he should simply await the result of forensics analysis of his devices and no action was required at this stage. He became increasingly anxious and spent many weeks worrying about what was likely to happen. Eventually he contacted Olliers after learning about our pro-active approach. We immediately made contact with the police for an update and continued to liaise with the officer for the duration of the case. We worked with Client C and he gained assistance from external agencies following our recommendations. Ultimately we attended for a voluntary interview with Client C and subsequently a conditional caution was offered following our submissions to the prosecution.
- Client D was a company director arrested in connection with revenge porn offences. It was alleged that he had uploaded a film of himself and the complainant to a porn website without the consent of the complainant. Representations were made to the police, to the effect that our client believed there was consent and that there was no intention to cause her distress. There was therefore no realistic prospect of a conviction. Following receipt of representations, no further action was taken against our client
- Client E: Client E was a single man who lived alone. The police attended his home address and seized various electronic devices for forensic analysis. He was then arrested and interviewed at the police station for possession of indecent images of children. Following police involvement, Client E contacted Olliers. We immediately adopted a pro-active approach and established contact with the police to enquire about the progress of their investigation. We continued to liaise with the police regularly and provide updates to Client E on where the investigation was up to. Detailed instructions were taken from him and we signposted him to specialists who could help him to address his online activity and offer support. He engaged with a specialist programme and took positive steps to deal with his issues. Once the results of the forensic analysis of the devices had been obtained, we submitted detailed representations against prosecution. This was successful – Client E was not prosecuted and was instead issued with a conditional caution.
- Client F: The police attended at Client F’s address and seized various devices for forensic examination. He was not arrested or interviewed under caution at this time. He immediately contacted specialists with whom he could discuss his online activity and seek the necessary support. The police investigation continued for some time whilst Client F’s devices were being forensically examined, and he grew increasing worried about his case. At this point, Client F contacted Olliers and instructed us to act on his behalf. We immediately established contact with the officer in the case and confirmed what progress had been made with the investigation. We continued to liaise with the officer regularly and provide Client F with advice and support. Ultimately, Client F was asked to attend a voluntary interview at which we represented him. Following interview, the officer confirmed that he was to be issued with a simple caution, a successful outcome.
Some Frequently Asked Questions
An investigation concerning indecent images can be a lengthy process, causing worry and stress to both the individual under investigation and their family. At the outset of an investigation, you would usually expect the police to attend at your address with a search warrant and seize those devices which they wish to analyse for indecent material. They may arrest you and take you to the police station for interview or invite you to a voluntary interview on a set date. It is important to remember that you are entitled to legal advice at this stage and may wish to consult a solicitor.
Once devices have been seized, it can take a while for them to be analysed and for the results to be reviewed by the police. It may be that the police wish to re-interview you further down the line if more evidence has become known. For a charging decision to be made the police will send their file to the Crown Prosecution Service who will decide whether:
– There is a realistic prospect of you being convicted; and
– Whether it is in the public interest to prosecute.
If you, or a close friend or family member, has been arrested or charged in connection with indecent images offences, you will inevitably be feeling stressed and anxious about what is to come. You may also be concerned about how your friends, family and colleagues will perceive you and feel afraid that the nature of your situation will become public.
The details of the investigation against you are unlikely to come to light until you have attended an interview. This is because the police will want to question you under caution and ensure that a record of your answers is obtained. All police interviews are recorded so that a transcript/tape of the evidence can be produced.
It is essential that you engage the services of an experienced indecent images solicitor to assist you throughout the investigation. Engaging them at an early stage is imperative, as they will then be on board to protect your interests and liaise with the police on your behalf. They will be able to provide the necessary expertise and support from the outset and monitor the investigation on your behalf. They can also provide guidance as to how best to deal with your case and the steps you can take to mitigate your circumstances.
Having the police search your home and seize your property can be a particularly stressful experience. They can search your home if they have obtained a search warrant authorised by the court.
It is common that home searches will be conducted as part of an indecent images investigation. During these searches, devices such as mobile phones, laptops, computers, tablets and hard drives may be seized. The police will then forensically examine these devices to recover any evidence of indecent material upon which they can build their case. They may also request access to email accounts and social media accounts which may have been used to view and share indecent images.
It is possible for a person found guilty of indecent images offences to go to prison. This does not necessarily mean that if you are found guilty, you will definitely face time in custody. There is in fact a range of options available to the court when sentencing someone who has been found guilty. This range will depend on what category the offence falls in to i.e. the level of seriousness of the material found.
On this basis, the court will use a set of guidelines to determine an appropriate sentence. They will take in to consideration both aggravating and mitigating factors which will differ depending on each individual case. Aggravating factors, which can adjust the sentence upwards, may be that the individual has relevant previous convictions, has abused a position of trust or has a large volume of images. On the other hand, mitigating factors could be that the individual has shown genuine remorse and has taken steps to address their behaviour, all of which can contribute to a reduction of sentence.
The least serious offences i.e. possession of category C images, are usually dealt with by way of a community order. Otherwise, those of a more serious nature are typically dealt with by custodial sentences, which can range from a number of weeks, for example 26, to a starting point of 6 years’ for the most serious offences. It is important to note that the court will look at each case on an individual basis, taking in to consideration an person’s background, personal circumstances and any applicable aggravating and mitigating factors.
Contact our indecent image offences lawyers
Please contact our team if you would like to arrange a confidential discussion as to how Olliers can assist you if you are under investigation for indecent images offences.