A 30-year-old Macksville man was remanded in custody on Tuesday (September 14) after being charged with seven child abuse-related offences following an Australian Federal Police operation.
The investigation began in February 2021 after the AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) received a report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) regarding a Kik social media user allegedly uploading child abuse material (CAM).
Investigators from AFP Eastern Command Child Protection Operations allegedly linked the 30-year-old Macksville man to the Kik account.
A search warrant was executed at the man's homeon Tuesday with investigators seizing two laptops, a mobile phone, a hard disk drive and a memory card. The digital devices will now be subject to further forensic examination.
The man was arrested and charged with:
- Four counts of possessing child abuse material accessed or obtained using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22A of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth); and
- Three counts of using a child under 14 years for the production of child abuse material, contrary to section 91G(1) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).
The maximum penalty for these offences is 15 years' imprisonment.
The man appeared before Kempsey Local Court on September 14 and did not make a bail application.
Bail was formally refused and he is next due in court on 17 November 2021.
AFP Detective Sergeant Joel Wheeler said this arrest was another reminder of the commitment undertaken by the AFP to protect children and identify and prosecute anyone who seeks to exploit and harm them.
"Anyone who produces or shares child abuse material is part of the problem, it is they who create the market for child abuse material online, which causes further harm to our community's most vulnerable - our children," Detective Sergeant Wheeler said.
The ACCCE is committed to stopping child exploitation and abuse and is at the centre of a collaborative national approach to combatting organised child abuse.
The centre brings together specialist expertise and skills in a central hub, supporting investigations into child sexual abuse and developing prevention strategies focused on creating a safer online environment.
Members of the public who have any information about people involved in child abuse and exploitation are urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online.