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Sexting punishment is 'so unjust,' says Oz magistrate

August 14, 2011 - London

A senior Australian magistrate has condemned the mandatory laws that requires anyone over 18, who are found guilty of possessing or transmitting child pornography, to be registered as a sex offender as "so unjust".

The magistrate, who works in country Victoria, condemned The Sex Offender Registration Act that "so unjust," reports the Age.

He said the lack of judicial discretion in such cases meant severe consequences for young people who posed no threat to society and were often guilty of little more than naivety.

He presided over a case in which a youth pleaded guilty to teenage sexting offences, aged 18, who was sent four uninvited text message pictures of girls, aged between 15 and 17 years, topless or in their underwear.

Police found the pictures on his mobile phone and laptop and charged him with child pornography offences.

On legal advice the youth pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a one-year good behaviour bond without conviction.

The magistrate refused the prosecutor's application for the young man to be placed on the sex offender register but police later realised his guilty plea resulted in mandatory registration for eight years.

"These people shouldn't be regarded as sex offenders. It's going beyond the pale in relation to the imposition of long-term penalties, which are not judicial penalties, they're not fines or community-based orders or even sex offender treatment programs," he stated.

"This is a limitation on what a person can and can't do for the next eight years of their life, for God's sake," the magistrate added.


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