BBC presenter accused of paying teenager for photos could face jail term if guilty | BBC

The BBC presenter accused of allegedly paying a 17-year-old for explicit photographs could face a six-month prison sentence if they are found guilty of a criminal offence, according to a leading obscenity lawyer.

Myles Jackman, who has represented individuals accused of similar crimes, said possessing images of a child undertaking sexual acts had a starting sentence of 26 weeks in prison. The sentence could increase substantially if they are found to have shared those images.

Jackman said: “Any child under 18 that takes a photo of themselves is manufacturing child pornography, they are in possession of it, and they have distributed it. Anyone soliciting photographs from someone under 18 has committed a serious raft of offences.”

Although the age of consent for sexual activity in England and Wales was 16 years old, the law on indecent images treated all under-18s as children, he said: “The Protection of Children Act 1978 prohibits any production, possession, or distribution of images of a sexual nature of children – and that means under the age of 18.”

According to the Sun, the unnamed BBC presenter paid tens of thousands of pounds to a young person to provide explicit photographs, with communications starting when they were 17.

The newspaper quoted the young person’s mother, who said her child had provided “performances” for the BBC employee and used the money to fund a crack cocaine addiction. The BBC has suspended a prominent male presenter and said it was urgently investigating the allegation. It is understood to have contacted the police on Friday.

Based on the reporting in the Sun, Jackman said any material produced while the young person was 17 years old could be considered Category B material for legal purposes. This encompasses “possession of images involving non-penetrative sexual activity” by a child.

Jackman, who has also lectured on the topic, said: “For possession alone it’s 26 weeks custody as a starting point. There are then aggravating features for establishing what level of guilt and culpability.”

He added: “Their biggest question will be can they avoid custody – and that’s on the images alone. You could also have elements of abusive or coercive control. The moment they take into account abuse of power then mitigating features vanish and the aggravating features take over.”

Issues that a judge would take into account include vulnerability of the child depicted, the number of images possessed, abuse of trust, and whether the child was depicted intoxicated or drunk.

Jackman said securing a suspended sentence – and staying out of prison – could come down to convincing a judge this was a one-off: “Quantity becomes important. Anything over around 50 images is generally considered a large amount. Based on the possession of a small quantity of Category B images they are at risk of prison. The only thing they will have going for them is good character.”




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