Regina v Bowden: CACD 10 Nov 1999

The defendant downloaded indecent images of children onto his computer, and printed them out. He was convicted of making new images by virtue of creating copies on his disc by downloading, by displaying them on his screen, and by printing them out.
Held: He had been properly convicted. Such creation of new copies was clearly the ‘making’ of images in the ordinary and natural meaning of that term: ‘In our judgment section 1 as amended is clear and unambiguous in its true construction. Quite simply, it renders unlawful the making of a photograph or a pseudo-photograph. There is no definition section. Accordingly the words ‘to make’ must be given their natural and ordinary meaning. In this context this is ‘to cause to exist; to produce by action, to bring about’ (OED). As a matter of construction such a meaning applies not only to original photographs but, by virtue of section 7, also to negatives, copies of photographs and data stored on computer disc.
We do not accept that s.1 in its present form is either ambiguous or obscure. We are certainly not persuaded that in some way the draftsman nodded and produced an ambiguous, obscure or illogical result. Nor do we accept that the natural interpretation leads to any absurdity suggested by counsel. We prefer the submission … of the respondent: ‘a person who either downloads images onto disc or who prints them off is making them. The Act is not only concerned with the original creation of images, but also their proliferation.”
Otton LJ, Smith and Collins JJ
Gazette 08-Dec-1999, Times 19-Nov-1999, [2001] QB 88, [1999] EWCA Crim 2270, [2000] Crim LR 381, [2000] 2 Cr App R (S) 26, [2000] 2 All ER 418, [2000] 2 WLR 1083
Protection of Children Act 1978 1(1)(a)
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedRegina v Smith, Regina v Jayson CACD 7-Mar-2002
The defendants were convicted of making indecent quasi-photographs of children under the Act. They had received e-mails, and opened the images in attachments to those e-mails. They appealed saying that the opening of the attachment was not . .
CitedAtkins v Director of Public Prosecutions; Goodland v Director of Public Prosecutions Admn 8-Mar-2000
For possession of an indecent image of a child to be proved, it was necessary to establish some knowledge of its existence. Images stored without the defendant’s knowledge by browser software in a hidden cache, of which he was also unaware, were not . .

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Updated: 08 April 2021; Ref: scu.85136