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Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 2016

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Disclosing private sexual photographs and films with intent to cause distressN.I.

This section has no associated Explanatory Notes

51—(1) It is an offence for a person to disclose a private sexual photograph or film if the disclosure is made—

(a)without the consent of an individual who appears in the photograph or film, and

(b)with the intention of causing that individual distress.

(2) But it is not an offence under this section for the person to disclose the photograph or film to the individual mentioned in subsection (1)(a) and (b).

(3) It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under this section to prove that he or she reasonably believed that the disclosure was necessary for the purposes of preventing, detecting or investigating crime.

(4) It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under this section to show that—

(a)the disclosure was made in the course of, or with a view to, the publication of journalistic material, and

(b)he or she reasonably believed that, in the particular circumstances, the publication of the journalistic material was, or would be, in the public interest.

(5) It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under this section to show that—

(a)he or she reasonably believed that the photograph or film had previously been disclosed for reward, whether by the individual mentioned in subsection (1)(a) and (b) or another person, and

(b)he or she had no reason to believe that the previous disclosure for reward was made without the consent of the individual mentioned in subsection (1)(a) and (b).

(6) A person is taken to have shown the matters mentioned in subsection (4) or (5) if—

(a)sufficient evidence of the matters is adduced to raise an issue with respect to it, and

(b)the contrary is not proved beyond reasonable doubt.

(7) For the purposes of subsections (1) to (5)—

(a)“consent” to a disclosure includes general consent covering the disclosure, as well as consent to the particular disclosure, and

(b)“publication” of journalistic material means disclosure to the public at large or to a section of the public.

(8) A person charged with an offence under this section is not to be taken to have disclosed a photograph or film with the intention of causing distress merely because that was a natural and probable consequence of the disclosure.

(9) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable—

(a)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or a fine (or both), and

(b)on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum (or both).

(10) Schedule 4 makes special provision in connection with the operation of this section in relation to persons providing information society services.

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