AFP Confiscates Home of Online Child Sex Offender in the Northern Territory

Australia, Police

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The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has successfully confiscated the home of an online child sex abuse offender in the Northern Territory. The AFP-led Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce (CACT) launched an investigation into the man, who was convicted in December 2023 of possessing thousands of child abuse images and videos accessed online. The 34-year-old offender was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to five online child abuse material offenses. The investigation included forensic analysis of his laptop and USBs, revealing over 6000 child abuse images and videos, as well as communications with other online offenders.

The CACT, which covers South Australia and the Northern Territory, initiated a separate investigation to restrain the offender’s assets. Following their inquiries, the CACT applied to the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory to have the offender’s $375,000 home restrained under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (Cth). The home was subsequently forfeited on June 21, 2024.

This marks the second successful use of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (Cth) by the AFP-led CACT in relation to a home associated with online child abuse offenses in Australia. The first home was restrained in South Australia in November 2020. Detective Superintendent Amelia McDonald highlighted that the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (Cth) provides a powerful tool for authorities to prevent offenders from profiting or reusing their property in further criminal activities.

AFP Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw had previously stated that the CACT would take an aggressive approach to combat online child abuse offenses, including leveraging the Proceeds of Crime legislation. The CACT, established in 2011, comprises experts from the AFP, Australian Taxation Office, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, AUSTRAC, and Australian Border Force. In December 2023, the CACT announced that it had restrained $1.1 billion in criminal assets over the past four years, dealing a significant blow to organized criminals.

The proceeds from confiscated assets are directed to the Commonwealth’s Confiscated Assets Account (CAA) and allocated by the Attorney-General to initiatives focused on crime prevention, law enforcement, and community-related programs. Some of the programs funded by the CAA include the AFP-led ThinkUKnow online child safety education program, Neighbourhood Watch Australasia, the National DNA Program for Unidentified and Missing Persons, and the ACIC regional and remote wastewater testing pilot.

The forfeiture of the offender’s home serves as a warning that those involved in the harm of children not only face imprisonment but also risk losing their homes and other assets. The AFP remains committed to relentlessly pursuing the assets and wealth of individuals operating outside the law.

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