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Behind bars | Going to the next level

Jeannie Mackie discusses the struggle facing courts in tackling and ?classing child pornography, and how best to prosecute offenders

2 November 2012

The power of the internet to inform, educate and entertain is one of the wonders of the modern world – and the availability of access to it increases daily. There is an app for everything and a cursory search can locate the most arcane of material within seconds - but not everyone is looking for chunks of school essays to copy down or cheap clothes. Access to web based adult pornography is child’s play, from legal ‘soft’ porn to extreme pornographic images the possession of which can be punishable by three years imprisonment. But it is the access to indecent images of children which most troubles the courts, not only in the number of cases which are now prosecuted, but in the number and variety of images, and how to deal with the offenders.

“Variety” is a polite word for images which come anywhere between Levels 1 and 5 of the ‘Copine’ scale, which the police use to categorize s...

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