Question from Hey, Is Viewing Extreme Material Online Considered Illegal Under the Criminal Justice Act in England?
Answer from AI:
In England, the legality of viewing extreme material online is governed by several pieces of legislation, including the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008. This law makes it illegal to possess extreme pornographic images, but it does not explicitly criminalize the act of merely viewing such material online. However, this does not mean that viewing extreme material online is always legal.
Understanding the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008
Under Section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, it is an offence to possess pornographic images that depict acts which threaten a person’s life, result in serious injury, involve sexual interference with a human corpse, or involve sex with an animal (alive or dead). The law applies to images stored on a computer, including those viewed online and then automatically stored in a computer’s cache.
Viewing vs Possession
While the act of viewing extreme material online is not explicitly criminalized, it can lead to possession charges if the material is automatically saved to your device. This is because the law considers images stored in a computer’s cache as being in the possession of the user. Therefore, even if you did not intentionally download or save the material, you could still be charged with possession if the material is found on your device.
Other Relevant Laws
In addition to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, other laws may also apply. For example, the Obscene Publications Act 1959 makes it an offence to publish obscene material, which could potentially include posting such material online. The Protection of Children Act 1978 also makes it illegal to take, make, distribute, show, or possess with intent to distribute any indecent photograph of a child.
When to Seek Legal Advice
If you are concerned about the legality of material you have viewed online, it is advisable to seek legal advice. A legal professional can provide guidance based on your specific circumstances. This is particularly important if you are facing charges related to the possession of extreme material.
Please note: This information is intended to provide a general understanding of the law. It is not intended to provide legal advice. Always consult with a legal professional for advice related to your specific situation.