On 28 July 2014, we wrote this article about the COPINE scale, which provides 10 levels of severity used to categorise indecent images of children and the 5 levels of seriousness used by the Sentencing Council.

More recently however, we have seen differences drawn between ‘categories’ of indecent images. On 29 October 2015, the Manchester Evening News reported on Benedict Cullum, a former senior official at HM Revenue & Customs. Mr Cullum had been found with almost 3000 category C images of children aged between 6 and 14. The defence barrister for Mr Cullum told the Court that the images were “the lowest level”.

On 27 October 2015, various news sources reported on Andrew Picard, an 18 year old student found with almost 2500 indecent images of children varying between category A and category C. The magistrate in Mr Picard’s case said “this matter is too serious for a magistrate’s court to deal with, we are sending it to the crown court in Oxford.”

So what do these categories mean? The Sentencing Council’s Sexual Offences Definitive Guidelines provide the following definitions in relation to indecent images involving children:

  • Category A: images involving penetrative sexual activity / images involving sexual activity with an animal or sadism
  • Category B: images involving non-penetrative sexual activity
  • Category C: other indecent images not falling within categories A or B

We do not believe however, that any of the above categories should be taken lightly when sentencing. Our stance will always remain that children are innocent and anything which purports to take away the innocence of our children is wrong, abhorrent and must be stopped. We will continue to thrive for justice for the victims of child abuse, be it in the form of indecent images or any other form of abuse.

If you are worried that you, or anyone you know, have been the subject to anything which may be classed as ‘child abuse’ and would like further guidance on this, please contact one of our specialist child abuse lawyers in confidence on 0800 9555 094.


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