News

Illicit material found in Finley

By Southern Riverina News

A 43 year-old Finley woman has been remanded in custody for her alleged involvement in uploading, sharing or producing child abuse material online.

The woman appeared in Albury Local Court on Thursday on six different charges, after being arrested as part of Operation WAKATAKE a day earlier.

A 52 year-old Finley man arrested as part of the same operation last Wednesday also appeared in Albury on Thursday, on three different charges.

He was granted bail.

Both cases have been adjourned until August 25.

The Australian Federal Police launched Operation WAKATAKE based on advice received in January this year.

The AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) Child Protection Triage Unit received a number of reports from the USA National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) relating to allegations of Australian users uploading child abuse material online.

The AFP’s NSW Child Protection Operations Team launched two separate investigations into the alleged offenders, which culminated in multiple search warrants in the Riverina region on Wednesday.

In another part of the Riverina, a 56 year-old man was arrested under the separate Operation MIMEKAZE for allegedly transmitting child abuse material online.

Police do not believe the two cases are linked.

In Finley, the AFP executed two search warrants at properties and two vehicles. They seized a number of electronic devices for forensic testing.

The 52 year-old Finley man was charged with one count of solicit material using a carriage service, the material being child abuse material (which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment), one count of possess child abuse material obtained or accessed through a carriage service (max 15 years imprisonment) and one count of possess child abuse material (max 10 years imprisonment).

The woman was charged with three counts of children not to be used for production of child abuse material (max 14 years imprisonment), one count of possess child abuse material (max 10 years imprisonment), one count of transmit child abuse material using a carriage service (max 15 years imprisonment) and once count of sexual act for production of child abuse material — child under 16 (max 10 years imprisonment).

AFP Child Protection Operations Superintendent Paula Hudson said the three Riverina arrests were ‘‘indicative of a coordinated, global response to child abuse’’.

‘‘Child abuse is happening globally and locally, everywhere from major cities to small rural towns,’’ Supt Hudson said.

‘‘When a file surfaces online and it’s detected by authorities, the international network of law enforcement works tirelessly together to find the person responsible, arrest them and put them before court.

‘‘In both these instances, it was the NCMEC in America that first detected this material and reported it to us. And it was the tireless investigation of the AFP’s New South Wales Child Protection Operation’s team that resulted in these arrests.’’

Members of the public who have any information about people involved in child abuse and exploitation are urged to call CrimeStoppers on 1800 333 000.

You can also make a report online by alerting the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation via the ‘report abuse’ button at www.accce.gov.au/report.