Pseudo Photographs

legitimate ReasonThe term pseudo photograph is often included in a bail or charge sheet and is often not understood by clients (or indeed police officers and prosecutors!).

Essential the term pseudo photograph was brought in and added to the legislation to deal with computer technology including CGI

For example images of children may appear to be photographs but are in fact computer graphics, and / or images created by the manipulation and / or combination of real photographs.

A simple example of the latter is where a person uploads to a computer separate photographs of a child and of an adult engaging in sexual activity and then manipulates the resulting data to superimpose the child’s face on that of the adult. It is doubtful whether an image produced in these ways can be said to constitute an ‘indecent photograph of a child’, since it is the product of graphic design or photoshopping of images rather than a photographic representation of a real child.

The provisions of the legislation  relating to pseudo-photographs are designed to deal with this problem.

For example Section 7(7) of the Protection of Children Act 1978 provides that ‘pseudo-photograph’ means an image, whether made by computer-graphics or otherwise howsoever, which appears to be a photograph.

By s.7(8) of that Act  if the impression conveyed by a pseudo- photograph is that the person shown is a child, the pseudo-photograph is to be treated for all purposes of the Act as showing a child; and so is a pseudo- photograph where the predominant impression conveyed is that the person shown is a child, notwithstanding that some of the physical characteristics shown are those of an adult.

Section 7(9) provides that references to an “indecent pseudo-photograph” include a copy of such a pseudo-photograph and data stored on a computer disc or by other electronic means which is capable of conversion into an indecent pseudo-photograph.

It should however be noted that an image must appear to be a photograph in order to fall within the definition of “pseudo-photograph”. A graphic image which does not appear to be a photograph does not fall within the definition but may well be a prohibited image.

In reality the fact that the words ‘pseudo photograph’ are contained in a bail sheet, charge sheet or evidence bundle does not mean that any images found on a device actually fit the definition of a ‘pseudo photograph’ and police officers generally include this as a catch all term. However,  it is important to understand what  pseudo photograph actually means and how they differ from prohibited (eg cartoon type) images.

If you would like some free and confidential advice in relation to pseudo images please feel free to call.