Victorian Current Acts

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Defence of artistic merit or public benefit

    (1)     It is a defence to a charge for a child abuse material offence (other than an offence against section 51I(1)) if—

        (a)     the material—

              (i)     was not produced with the involvement of a person who was, at the time it was produced, under the age of 18 years; and

              (ii)     possesses artistic merit; or

        (b)     the material is of public benefit.

    (2)     For the purposes of subsection (1)(b), material that is of public benefit includes material that is for a genuine medical, legal, scientific or educational purpose.


1     A is a university lecturer in psychology. During a lecture on abnormal psychology, A shows a lecture slide with examples of textual child abuse material to illustrate the type of material associated with an abnormal psychological profile. The lecture slide is of public benefit.

2     A is a photojournalist in a war zone. A takes a photo of a child victim of torture and submits it to a news organisation for publication. The photo is of public benefit.

    (3)     A bears the burden of proving (on the balance of probabilities) the matter referred to in subsection (1)(a)(ii) or (b).


1     The reference to A in this section is a reference to the same A referred to in the child abuse material offence provisions.

2     An evidential burden applies to the matter referred to in subsection (1)(a)(i).

S. 51M inserted by No. 47/2016 s. 16.

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