This brief looks at sentences imposed in New South Wales for the offences of possessing child pornography under s 578B(2) Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) and publishing child pornography under s 578C(2A) Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). The maximum penalty for the possession offence is the equivalent of $11,000 or two years imprisonment or both, and for the publishing offence it is $110,000 or five years imprisonment or both.
The Judicial Commission of New South Wales provided sentencing data for the three-year period from January 2000 to December 2003 (Judicial Commission of NSW 2004). In this three-year period, on 63 separate occasions sentences were imposed for the offence of possessing child pornography. Sentences were imposed for the offence of publishing child pornography on 14 occasions. Possession of child pornography is a summary offence that ordinarily is dealt with by a magistrate in the local court, and 62 cases were disposed of in that court. One case was dealt with in the district court as would occur where a possession charge is used as a back-up charge to other more serious offences brought to the district court. The publication charge can be dealt with either summarily or on indictment and 11 were dealt with summarily, while three cases were dealt with in the district court.