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SA Labor MP Charged with Criminal Offences

published  First Published: 21/04/2011
Article written by: Nigel Brookson

Last Updated: 25/04/2011

 

It has been revealed that a South Australian Labor MP has been charged with alleged child exploitation offences, including Possession of Child Pornography, Possession of Child Pornography (aggravated) and taking Steps to Access Child Pornography (x2).

Section 63 of the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 says that an aggravated offence includes an offender knowing that the victim was aged under 14 at the time, or the offence being committed in the company of one or more other people.

The maximum penalty for possessing child pornography in South Australia is five years in jail for a first offence. The maximum penalty for an aggravated offence is seven years in jail.

In a news release from the Premiers Office by Mr Rann however, he makes no mention of the MP's political affiliations.

 

Mr Rann said the Government would, of course, co-operate with the police in the investigation.

The MP was taken to the City Watch house on Wednesday night, charged with four child pornography offences and later released on police bail.

He is set to appear before the Adelaide Magistrates Court on May 20.

Detectives from the Sexual Crime Investigation Branch said their investigation were continuing.

This is part of the six paragraph statement Mr. Rann made in the News Release:

"For legal reasons, no person, including me as Premier, is at liberty to reveal the identity of the person, the subject of the allegations, or to disclose any information through which others may infer the identity of the person," ...
"It would be against the law for me to comment on the allegations as the matter is now before the courts...
"I believe that any potential witnesses with any evidence or information about these allegations must co-operate fully with police."

Read the News Release in full from the Premiers Office titled 'Criminal Allegations'.

Under SA law a person cannot be identified until his/her committal, unless he/she gives his/her consent.

Politicians from both sides of the isle say they are shocked by the allegations.

Police said the arrest was the result of the Sexual Crime Investigation Branch's ongoing "Operation Decimate", which targets people who use the internet for child exploitation-related offences.

 

Why the MP charged with alleged child pornography offences cannot be named.

The name of the Labor MP charged with child pornography offences will remain a state secret up and till May 20 at least, due to a law introduced in 1976.

Media reporting of alleged sex crimes is restricted by a section introduced in 1976 to the Evidence Act (1929); which is the same legislation used to impose suppression orders.

The media may not publish any evidence tendered, or submission made, in the Magistrates Court relating to an alleged sex offence, or name any person charged with an offence, and must not identify anyone alleged to be a victim.

The act defines a sex crime as "any offence involving sexual exploitation or abuse of a child, or exploitation of a child as an object of prurient interest".

Individuals who breach the law can be fined a maximum $10,000, while corporations face a $120,000 fine.

The act says alleged offenders can only be named once they have entered a plea - be it guilty or not guilty - to the charges, and have been remanded for either sentence or trial.

The Adelaide MP is due to appear in court again on May 20, when a magistrate will organise a schedule for the case.

It is standard procedure for prosecutors to be given between four and six weeks to provide evidence to be used at trial. Once the prosecution hands over this evidence, alleged offenders are usually required to enter a plea to the charges within six weeks.

After the pleas have been entered, the alleged offender can be publicly identified provided the court does not impose any additional suppression orders.

Read more news from South Australia.

 

 

Related Article: Man Arrested: Child Exploitation Offences

 

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Tags: South Australian MP, Criminal Offences, Child Exploitation Offences, Child Pornography, Operation Decimate, Labor MP

 

 

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