Young men plead guilty to sharing nude photo of 16-year-old girl

Suspended sentence after men plead guilty to child pornography charges

A court has lashed out at society’s “allergy to discipline” as it dealt with two young men who admitted to sharing a nude photograph of a 16-year-old girl.

The men, now aged 21 and 20, who cannot be named by order of the court, were themselves underage at the time of the offence. 

They pleaded guilty to child pornography charges. 

Inspector John Spiteri told magistrate Francesco Depasquale how the men had transmitted a photo of a girl roughly a year younger than them, when they were still 17. 

“There is zero tolerance for child pornography, but the circumstances in this case, although the material is paedopornographic, the accused should be helped.” The court was told that one of the accused had changed his life drastically and was now in a Christian fellowship movement. 

The court, having seen the charges, the admission of the accused and noting that they had been underage when they committed the offence, observed that it was “worrying to hear of children committing crimes of this nature which are serious and grave and which have very ugly consequences for the persons photographed.” 

It said it feared that this is “a result of our society’s allergy to discipline and its basis on insisting on rights but not duties.” However, in view of the fact that the accused clearly understood the consequences of their actions and had changed their lives, the court opted to hand the men not an effective prison sentence, but a suspended one. 

One of the accused sobbed tears of relief in the dock as the men were sentenced to 18 months in prison suspended for 4 years and ordered to pay the costs of appointing court experts.

“My message is clear. What you have done is wrong. Wrong for you and the girl you involved. Victims had committed suicide in similar cases... I’m giving you a chance but don’t come here again or things will be different.”

Inspectors John Spiteri and Joseph Busuttil prosecuted. Lawyers Franco Debono and Marion Camilleri were defence counsel.

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