Question from As, Is Viewing Material Under the Criminal Justice Act on a Public Google Website Considered Illegal in England?
Answer from AI:
The Criminal Justice Act 1988, specifically Section 160, makes it an offence to possess any indecent photograph, or pseudo-photograph, of a child. However, your question pertains to viewing such material, not possessing it.
Viewing vs. Possession
In England, the law distinguishes between viewing and possessing extreme material. As you’ve mentioned, the case of Okoro  EWCA Crim 1929 clarified that possession requires the material to be in the suspect’s custody or control and that the suspect knew they possessed the images.
However, viewing such material online, even without downloading or saving it, can still potentially lead to charges of possession. This is because when you view an image online, it is often automatically stored in your device’s temporary internet files or cache, which could be considered “in your custody or control.”
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has issued guidelines indicating that a person can be prosecuted for viewing illegal material online if there is evidence that they purposefully sought out the material. This could include using specific search terms to find the material or repeatedly viewing the same material.
If you have viewed such material, even unintentionally, it is strongly recommended that you seek legal advice. The law in this area is complex and the consequences of a conviction can be severe.
Please note: This information is intended to provide a general understanding of the law. It is not intended to provide legal advice. You should consult with a legal professional for advice tailored to your specific circumstances.