Do you have child porn on your computer even though you had no idea it
was there? Innocent people have been charged for that very crime,
read on to find out how:
I would like to respond to the article Visa girl’s granddad faces porn charges in the Sunday Mail, 30 May 2004.

My story is not much different from this gentleman’s and I would like
to extend my sympathies to him and let him know he is not alone.

On May 8 2002 the police, with a warrant to search our property, seized
computers in relation to the possession of child pornography, based on
information given to them from the New York Internet Interpol.
Apparently, they found an IP address that we had logged on with.

The police took away our PC tower, all CDs and the laptop. This
shutdown my husband’s home business. The police told us we would be
hearing from them and to get ourselves a lawyer.

A couple of weeks later, my husband was arrested for 169 counts of
‘Knowingly being in possession of illegal images’ and was taken to the
Roma Street Watch-House where he was paraded with a sign on his chest
stating his alleged crime. Also, he was denied water, food, to speak
with his solicitor, made to wear a paper-like tracksuit in a very cold
cement cell which resulted in the flu, and on the return journey the
escorting officers goaded my husband with gross comments about child
pornography.

My husband’s bail conditions were that he ‘sign in’ at a police station
3 times each week, surrender his English passport, and that he was to
have no direct or indirect contact with our daughter. I was informed by
police and family services that if our daughter had contact with her
stepfather (the only father she has ever known) they would remove her
from my residence.

My husband’s never been arrested before this incident.

Before the First Mention, the Secretary to the Commissioner of Police
informed our Solicitor to advise us not to go ahead with requesting to
have our computer PC tower and Laptop returned as this would create too
much work for the police service.

The outcome of the Mention was as follows: Queensland Law defines
exactly what a computer is (ie. what the police were allowed to seize).
The Magistrate found that a computer was only the hard drive and that
the Police were required to return everything else including all
appropriate files (obviously excluding the illegal images) to my
husband and to hundreds of other people from whom they had seized.

The police were not happy with the outcome of the Mention and
verbalised their protest on the way out of court. At the Committal
Hearing a Police Computer Technician gave evidence saying “That we
could not have had access to the illegal images as they were hidden and
were only running cloaked in the background” (unknown to my husband or
I).

Bail conditions were changed so that my husband would sign in once a
month and have remain unchanged to this day *even though he has never
breached them nor have the Police Child Protection Unit psychologists
have not found any evidence of child abuse on my husband’s part, back
in September 2002 when they interviewed my daughter. I am supremely
confident that if there were indecent dealings between my husband and
daughter, the Police would have acted accordingly.

Unfortunately, after receiving $17,750 from our meagre business
ventures, our solicitor Mr. Mark Wakeling of Wakeling Lawyers, Brisbane
has been disbarred for stealing from a clients trust account.

My husband is an English immigrant and not entitled to legal aide,
reciprocal health, unemployment benefits and many other things.

We are now in the process of briefing a new solicitor for a District
Court date sometime in July. Our case was postponed several times for
various reasons; including Police Officers absences due to long service
leave and sick leave.

My husband is pleading “Not Guilty” to knowingly being in possession of these images.

This situation has lost us the support of my family, and my husband’s
family live in England. My husbands 3 children from a previous marriage
have moved house and he is denied contact details even though bail
conditions do not apply to them.

My husband and I still are forced to live separately causing more
financial stress on top of solicitors’ bills. My daughter has not seen
the man she calls Daddy for 2 years and on an almost daily basis my
daughter will be in tears saying she ‘wants her Daddy’. Now we also
have a 2-month son who is also being affected by the ineffective legal
system.

We do not know exactly how the images got onto the computer, although
during routine computer maintenance we removed a Trojan from the
computer just days before the Police accusations.

Whilst my husband and our family are going through this living hell,
the person who actually committed this crime by dumping the illegal
pictures of the children on our PC is still out there.

The Legal System is hurting the very people they said they were trying to protect, ie my children.

I am confident a jury will also find my husband not guilty.

A subscriber writes:

You published an article by a woman whose husband has been charged with
having illegal material on his computer of which he claims to have no
knowledge of.

The woman states in the article that they are unsure exactly how the
images got onto the computer, though a trojan was removed several days
before the computer was seized.

The writer does not mention, and thus may not be aware, that there is a
profession called “computer forensics” which can help to answer
questions like this. I would have assumed that this kind of
examination would have already been commissioned by her husband’s
solicitor, but the article gives no indication of it.

You might pass a message on to the lady concerned simply asking whether
she or her husband has discussed this with her husband’s solicitors.

Peter Fray

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