The Federal Government have announced that they have used the recently implemented “Carly’s Law” criminal amendments to arrest a man accused of planning to abuse children. “Carly’s Law” was implemented by the Criminal Code Amendment (Protecting Minors Online) Act 2017 (Cth), which passed Parliament on 15 June 2017, was assented on 22 June 2017, and commenced on 23 June 2017. The Act amended the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) by inserting a new offence at section 474.25C – “Using a carriage service to prepare or plan to cause harm to, engage in sexual activity with, or procure for sexual activity, persons under 16”. The new offence carries a penalty of imprisonment for up to ten years.
TimeBase has written a number of articles about the history of Carly’s Law, which was initially introduced in a different bill, which was rejected for being “too broad in its application”. A revised version of the bill eventually passed Parliament this year.
In a press release issued by Minister for Justice Michael Keenan yesterday (9 August 2017), Mr Keenan said:
“This is a milestone moment in our ongoing work to give young Australians greater protection in the online world, and comes just two months after we passed this important law.
Carly’s Law shows zero tolerance to adults who prey on the most vulnerable in our community, our children. It gives police the power to act before a predator has the chance to harm a child.”
Australian Federal Police commander Lesa Gale told ABC News that “the legislation was fundamental in efforts to protect children from harm”, saying:
“We are unwavering in our commitment to take all necessary action to protect children from sexual exploitation...
I must acknowledge Carly's mother, Sonya Ryan, who has endured the ultimate pain of losing a child at the hands of an online predator.
Sonya campaigned tirelessly for a law that would give police more power to intervene before a predator has a chance to act. Yesterday, we used this new law to, potentially, save a life.”
The Minister for Justice’s press release says that the 35 year old man has been accused of lying about his age and his gender in order to groom children for sexual activity. He has been charged with the Carly’s Law offence alongside 12 other offences also relating to child exploitation.
According to ABC News, the man briefly faced the Mount Gambier Magistrates Court on 9 August, with his case now being transferred to Adelaide where a further hearing is scheduled to take place in early October.
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