Making indecent images of children

On the 15th May 2006 Chris Langham was charged with;

“15 allegations of making indecent images of a child”.

That statement by itself creates a specific picture in your mind doesn't it? I bet you have a real good idea of what making indecent images means don't you?

Lets see whether we are right then, lets look at the literal legal meaning of this whole statement.

“15 allegations”.

From this we can fairly simply deduct that the police think he had done something illegal, 15 times.

“making indecent images of a child”

Now this we have to look at in its component parts. We need to start with 'child'

British law has recently changed to dictate that a child is anyone under the age of 18. This was changed from 16. This is somewhat confusing when you have 14 year old girls walking the streets looking like 1970's hookers, but in regard to actual exploitation of anyone under 18 I don't really have a problem with it.

'making' is our next interesting stop in this statement. Putting an image on your computer is the process of making an image. Primarily this means willingly downloading an image. It has nothing to do with fiddling about with photo editing tools or the like. If you click on a link that results in the image being downloaded to your computer, English law dictates you made that image.

You can also be prosecuted for possessing but that only applies to situation where there are indecent images on your computer that it is thought you unwittingly placed on your computer. Usually this means images the computer software stored because you visited a website.

So now we come to the crux of the whole statement; 'indecent'

In this context it means an image that is not thought to be descent, obviously. Well in regard to this it means anyone that is under 18 in a pose, whether clothed, partially clothed or naked that is thought to be not proper in the eyes of most peoples opinion. Which despite the wording usually comes down to the opinion of the judge, or the police officers making the charges and then the judge.

The English dictionary defines it as follows;

'indecent'

Offensive to good taste; unseemly

Offensive to public moral values; immodest

My point here is not to make a defense for Chris Langham, I have no idea what the images he has been charged with contain. I do know from English law that the police have charged him with downloading 15 images and that these images contain content that they believe to be indecent. Only time will tell.

So we now understand the scope of english law in regards to 'making indecent images of children'. What is the reason for all this?!

The other Wednesday I found myself in my local barbers with a copy of the 'Sun' sat on my knee. On the front page there was a 4'x4' picture of a 12 year old girl. She was wearing a crop top, a pony tail and a pair of tracksuit bottoms. Nothing else. Her face, as was that of her aqua blue track suited mother were digitally removed. The reason for this was that this 12 year old girl was seven months pregnant. Her bare naked extended belly protrudedg from the page above words that glorified the fact she had gained the title of England's youngest child bearer by a significant margin like it was something worthy of the Guinness book of records.

If this does not entirely represent the words 'making an indecent image of a child' as defined by English law I really don't know what does!

As far as I am aware the Sun has yet to be charged


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Submission: 20 June 2006
Revision: none

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