Question from JJ, Is intentionally viewing extreme images without downloading or storing them an offence under the Criminal Justice Act in England?
Answer from AI:
In England, the law regarding viewing extreme images is complex and can depend on the nature of the images and the intent of the viewer. The Criminal Justice Act does not specifically address the act of merely viewing images, but other laws may apply.
Obscene Publications Act 1959
Under the Obscene Publications Act 1959, it is an offence to publish obscene material, which could include extreme images. However, this law primarily targets those who distribute such material, not those who merely view it.
Protection of Children Act 1978
The Protection of Children Act 1978 makes it illegal to take, make, distribute, show, or possess with intent to distribute any indecent photograph of a child. This law could potentially apply to viewing such images online, even without downloading or storing them.
Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008
The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 introduced a new offence of possession of extreme pornographic images. The Act defines ‘extreme’ images as those which are grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise of an obscene character and portray in an explicit and realistic way certain specified acts.
Note: The law is less clear on whether merely viewing such images, without downloading or storing them, constitutes possession. This is a complex area of law and the interpretation can vary depending on the circumstances.
If you are concerned about this issue, it is recommended that you seek legal advice. A legal professional can provide guidance based on your specific circumstances and the latest case law. Remember, laws can change and legal interpretations can vary, so it’s important to get up-to-date advice.
Regardless of the legal implications, viewing extreme images can have serious personal and social consequences. It’s important to use the internet responsibly and to report any illegal content you come across to the appropriate authorities. The UK government provides guidance on reporting illegal content.
In conclusion, while the Criminal Justice Act does not specifically address the act of merely viewing extreme images, other laws may apply. The interpretation of these laws can be complex and can depend on the nature of the images and the intent of the viewer. It’s always best to seek legal advice if you are unsure.