Distribution of Indecent Images

If you have been charged with indecent image offences, child pornography, or extreme pornography finding a lawyer that regularly defends these cases in court is a must. You will need legal representation that can be there for you at every stage of the proceedings including being on call for emergencies 247/365 to come and provide counsel at the police station, as well as your court appearances. 

Also, when charged with an indecent image offence, acting fast can help ensure the most positive outcome for your case. After all, anything you say or do while under caution can be used against you in a court of law. 

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What are indecent images offences?

Indecent image offences also known as child pornography offences are those where a person takes, makes, possesses, distributes, shows, or allows to be taken an image of a child pictured or posed indecently. Such images do not have to be photographs or videos but can also be digital images, drawings, or tracings. 

It is also important to remember that in the case of indecent images, the term making does not only mean being involved in taking a video or photo. In law it also covers people printing or downloading an indecent image, and even opening an email attachment that contains an indecent image. 

Then there are extreme pornography offences, which are categorised under the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008. It relates to possession of material intended for sexual arousal that contains necrophilia, bestiality, acts that threaten a person’s life, and acts that may result in serious injury to a person’s genitalia. 

Indecent images offences

What will happen if you are accused of an indecent image offence

If arrested by the police for the above offences, they should give you a proper caution and inform you specifically of the offences for which you are being charged. As stated in your caution you do not have to say anything when arrested and it’s best to wait to say anything until your legal counsel arrives. Remember you will be able to access either the on-duty solicitor or provide your own. The latter option allows you to pick a representative with expertise in this area. 


You will be interviewed by police concerning the charges and this can result in several outcomes, including being released with no action, released under investigation, and charged with a specific child sexual offence. If you are charged with a specific offence, you may either be released on bail, or kept in custody until your court date.

What are the penalties for indecent image offences?

Three categories of severity are applied to the possession of indecent images, and these are used to decide the level of penalty you could receive. 


Types of indecent images 



  • activity with an animal,
  • penetrative sexual activity,
  • sadism



  • non-penetrative sexual activity.



  • deemed to be indecent but that do not fall in categories A or B.

However, if there is evidence that an individual has distributed the image, they may be charged under the Obscene Publications Act of 1959. 

Additionally, the Protection of Children Act of 1978 also states that making, showing, and distributing, child pornography, as well as allowing it to be made are offences. The penalty for these offences is as follows: 




Between 26 weeks and 3 years of custody.


Between 2 and 5 years of custody.


Between 4 and 9 years of custody.

Those sentenced to incident imagery offences will also be placed on the Sex Offenders Register. While those receiving two or more years for extreme pornography will be placed on the Violent and Sex Offender Register. 


Are there any defences against charges relating to indecent or extreme pornography?

A legal team that is expert in defending indecent imagery cases will review the defences available to them, and choose the one that makes the most sense in your situation. 

Such defences may include:

A lack of awareness: This defence argues that the accused did not realise that they had the images, that they did not realise the images were of children, or that they did not realise the images were indecent. 

Legitimate reason for possession: A person had to possess the images for official academic research.

Marriage or civil partnerships: The images were of a child no younger than 16 who was involved in a loving, long-term relationship such as marriage with the accused. 

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