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Law clear on child porn

Date: October 15, 2004

THE law was clear in supporting child porn charges against 30 people that were challenged by the NSW Opposition leader, Premier Bob Carr said today.

State Opposition leader John Brogden yesterday accused detectives from the Child Protection and Sex Crimes Squad of botching the cases by failing to have photographic evidence classified by the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC).

He said the charges may have to be dropped because the NSW Crimes Act states proceedings cannot start before the material is classified.

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NSW Police Commissioner Ken Moroney said today the crown solicitor had confirmed there was no threat to the current investigation or charges before the courts. Mr Carr said police action in the investigation - Operation Auxin - was backed up by the state's highest legal talents.

"The (NSW Crimes) Act is clear," Mr Carr told reporters in Sydney today.

"It enables the police to get on with the job. "There is no dispute over this question, the action of the police was valid.

"Why is the opposition trying to trip up the police?" However, Mr Brogden said today the crown solicitor's advice to the government had highlighted concerns about the legislation.

"What the crown solicitor has advised the government is that the police have acted in the spirit of the law," he told ABC radio.

"Well, when it comes to prosecuting child pornographers we shouldn't be relying on the spirit of the law, we should be able to rely on the letter of the law.

"And what the crown solicitor says is that the language of this legislation needs to be amended to clear up any ambiguity. Well, that is exactly my case."

The charges resulted from a nationwide crackdown on child pornography in which more than 200 people have been charged and a further 300 are implicated in downloading and distributing child porn.

However, Mr Carr did not rule out changing the Crimes Act if police wanted it done.

"Anything the police want to clarify the situation down the track will be done," Mr Carr said.

But Mr Moroney said he was satisfied with the legislation.

"I was confident yesterday and the provision of that qualified legal advice has reaffirmed that confidence level," the commissioner said.
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