Indecent Images Offences

Being arrested or charged with producing, possession or distributing indecent images of children or extreme pornography can be very distressing, with the potential for a prison sentence if convicted, as well as the possibility of losing your reputation, career and family. Our team can provide a same day, including out of hours appointment from £500 plus VAT.

It is considered an offence to take, to permit to be taken, to make, to possess, show or to distribute an image of a child posed or pictured indecently, for example, in a sexual way. This could also include images of adults involved in an indecent act where a child is present but not themselves portrayed indecently.

‘Making’ an indecent image does not just refer to a person taking a photo or video - it can also refer to a person downloading or printing an indecent image or opening an email attachment containing an indecent image.

An indecent image could refer to actual photographs or video footage, as well as drawings or tracing, or images created digitally.

At JD Spicer Zeb, our specialists indecent images solicitors can offer same day appointments including virtual or out of hours if you work. We offer confidential rapid advice. We are trained to recognise genuine defences and can advise on strong or weak cases against you. We will be open and honest with you. You will have advice from a senior lawyer on the strength of your case. We can offer an enhanced private service led by partner or senior solicitor to maximise your chances of a positive outcome. 

For more than 45 years, we have been advising and representing clients accused of various types of sexual offences, including those related to indecent images of children and extreme pornography. We can offer experienced, sympathetic legal support to help protect your rights and reputation, making proceedings as easy as possible on you.

In some cases, we are able to help clients avoid charges or see charges dropped early in an investigation. If you are charged and your case goes to trial, we can ensure you have the strongest possible defence and best representation available. If you have to plead guilty we will do everything possible to mitigate the penalty you will face. We will be honest with you about what is known as early guilty plea sentencing discount. This can effectively reduce your penalty by 1/3 and also sometimes be the difference between a custodial and non custodial sentence.

We will prepare a full sentencing pack for the court to reduce your penalty. This will normally consist of references, medical or mental health reports amongst other crucial information. We will limit the damage to your life. Where possible we will advise you on rehabilitation courses to assist you and the court. We will take you through best and worst case scenarios and clearly advise where your case will fall on the sentencing guidelines for these offences. 

Contact our indecent images defence lawyers today

If you have been arrested or charged with a child pornography or extreme pornography offence, you can contact us 24-hours a day, seven days a week for an immediate free initial consultation, expert legal advice and representation.

We speak a variety of languages across our team and work with a number of accredited interpreters allowing us to provide clear legal advice in any language, so you can have confidence that your interests are protected at all times. We are available to clients all over England and Wales for round the clock support.

For a free initial consultation on dealing with an indecent pornography offence allegation, please contact our local offices in LondonBirmingham or Manchester.

Need immediate legal support for child pornography or extreme pornography offence? Our accredited Police Station Representatives and solicitors are available 24 hours a day 365 days a year using the emergency numbers listed at the top of the page.

Our expertise with offences related to indecent images of children and extreme pornography

With decades of specialist experience defending clients against charges related to the production, possession and distribution of indecent images, we have a detailed understanding of the law in this area and all available defence options.

Our team also understand just how emotionally challenging dealing with this type of allegation can be, so can offer sympathetic personal support throughout proceedings, as well as our legal expertise. We have strong expertise in forensic computer analysis, working with a number of specialists. This means we can ensure no detail is missed and that all of the relevant digital data is gathered and effectively leveraged for your defence.

In addition to guiding you through the general process of defending you against indecent images allegations, we will also take the necessary steps to ensure that your rights are protected, the alleged indecent images are correctly and accurately categorised, medical reports (including psychological evaluations) are collated and that the potential impact of a charge would have on you and your family.

We work with some of the UK’s top criminal defence barristers specialising in indecent images offences, so if your case does go to trial, we can make sure you have expert support for every stage of proceedings.

Forensic experts

We work with leading providers within the digital forensics industry, primarily specialising in criminal defence investigations. With a comprehensive range of proven digital forensic capabilities that include mobile phone forensics, computer forensics and cell site analysis.

Unfortunately, indecent imagery, also known as IIC or Indecent Images of Children, is becoming more prevalent. Being accused of a sexual offence undoubtedly has devastating consequences. Society’s view of these offenders is such that the presumption of being innocent until proven guilty often seems, in reality, to be reversed.

Most cases of this type result from the discovery of indecent pictures or images of children on a computer. There are many reasons why pictures of this type may come to be on a computer unintentionally. Often the origins of Indecent Imagery (IIC) found via computer forensics are not fully investigated by the prosecution, which may result in a person being wrongly accused or worse, convicted.

We instruct experts on a vast range of investigations. We can work with experts such as Cyfor, an agency, to build your defence.

What to do if you are accused of an offence involving indecent images or extreme pornography

To avoid the risk of saying or doing anything that could undermine your defence, it is essential to be aware of your rights when interviewed by police in connection to indecent images of children or extreme pornography.

Do not forget the following:

  1. You do not have to answer any questions asked by the police.
  2. You should never answer any police questions without a solicitor present.
  3. You have the right to free legal representation.
  4. You can use the duty solicitor available or choose your own lawyer.

If you are arrested on suspicion of committing an offence involving indecent images of children or extreme pornography, the arresting officers must tell you the specific offence you are accused of committing and they must caution you using the words:

“You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.”

If you are taken into questioning by the police, the interview stage will typically address a number of issues. This may include investigating whether you have visited specific sites and whether you had a sexual interest. At this stage, issues such as whether the internet is secured, whether any other person has been given access to the internet or devices and whether a device is second-hand will also be addressed.

Following a police interview for producing, possessing or distributing indecent images of children or extreme pornography, one of the following will occur:

If you are charged with a historical sexual offence:

  • A date will be set for a court hearing
  • You will either:

If you are released with no further action or under investigation, you can be rearrested or summonsed to attend court at a later date.

What is considered ‘extreme pornography’?

The possession of extreme pornography is an offence under the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, which came into force on 26 January 2009.

The CPS defines pornography as images that “must reasonably be assumed to have been produced solely or principally for the purpose of sexual arousal” while the Act defines extreme pornography as that which depicts any of the following:

  • Act that threaten a person’s life
  • Acts that result in or are likely to result in serious injury to a person’s anus, breasts or genitals
  • Bestiality
  • Necrophilia

Penalties for indecent images offences

In 2014, The Sentencing council issued revised guidelines for all sexual offences, including those concerning indecent images of children. There are three categories of seriousness that will determine the severity of the punishment handed out for an indecent image offence:

  • Category A - Images involving penetrative sexual activity and sexual activity with an animal or sadism.
  • Category B - Images involving non-penetrative sexual activity.
  • Category C - Indecent images not falling within categories A or B.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will be invited to consider charges where indecent images that fall under one of these categories are found on a respective device. In cases where there is evidence that the suspect has published or distributed a prohibited image, prosecutors should consider whether they are able to charge the suspect with an offence contrary to the Obscene Publications Act 1959, rather than the offence of possession of a prohibited image.

When indecent images of children are found on a suspect's electronic device, careful consideration is required to decide which charge is the most appropriate.

There are various offences involving indecent images of children under the Protection of Children Act 1978 and the Criminal Justice Act 1988.

Offences under the Protection of Children Act 1978 include taking, permitting to be taken and making child pornography, distributing or showing child pornography and possessing child pornography.

  • Possession of indecent images carries a sentencing range of between 26 weeks and 3 years custody.
  • Production of indecent images carries a sentencing range of between 4 and 9 years custody.
  • Distribution of indecent images carries a sentencing range of between 2 and 5 years custody.

The maximum sentence for possession of extreme pornography is up to three years’ imprisonment, while more minor offences may result in a fine.

Anyone sentenced for at least two years’ imprisonment for an extreme pornography offence will also be placed on the Violent and Sex Offender Register

Offences under the Criminal Justice Act 1988 include possession of child pornography with a maximum possible sentence of five years’ imprisonment.

A convicted offender will also be subject to the Sex Offenders Register. In addition to this, a conviction may also result in an offender being dealt with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO). This is a court order which can be requested by the police or court where there is a specific concern about an individual.

Such an order prevents someone from engaging in specific activities, such as restricting access to the internet without installed computer monitoring software.

What defence is there against charges relating to indecent or extreme pornography?

There can be various potential defences for possession of indecent images that your defence team can explore. These include:

Legitimate reason

This defence is made out if the defendant proves they had a ‘legitimate reason’ for possessing the material. e.g. for the purposes of academic research. The central question on this matter is whether the defendant was essentially a person with an ‘unhealthy’ interest indecent images acting under the pretence of undertaking research or was a genuine researcher who had no alternative but to have the material in their possession.

Lack of awareness

This defence is made out if the defendant proves that they had a ‘lack of awareness’ of the images, i.e. they had not seen them and had no reason to suspect that they were indecent. This applies if an absence of knowledge and a cause to suspect is proved in respect of either the indecency of a photograph or the fact that its subject matter is a child.

Marriage and other relationships

An additional defence that can be put forward relates to marriage and other relationships. The core requirements of this are that the photograph was of a child aged 16 or 17 and, at the time of the conduct in question, the defendant and the child were married or civil partners and loved together in an ‘enduring family relationship’.

Our defence solicitors are highly experienced with the available defences for indecent images offences, so can ensure every possible angle of defence is explored to help you avoid charges or secure the best available outcome during a prosecution.

Contact our indecent images defence lawyers today

For a free initial consultation, urgent specialist advice, immediate representation or to speak to us confidentially about allegations of producing, possessing or distributing indecent images of children or extreme pornography, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

You can contact our dedicated criminal defence lawyers in London, Birmingham, and Manchester by telephone on:

Or email:

Alternatively, you can fill out our quick online enquiry form, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

24/7 legal representation for indecent images offence allegations

Please get in touch for a free initial consultation with one of our expert criminal defence solicitors, as well as immediate representation and advice on dealing with allegations relating to indecent images of children or extreme pornography.

We are available to represent clients all over England and Wales at any time, so please contact our Emergency Number 07836 577 556.

The Lucy Faithfull Foundation

If you are a victim of child sexual abuse or at risk of offending, please contact the Lucy Faithfull Foundation for advice.

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