First conviction of cyber-flashing in UK sets legal precedent

A registered sex offender, who sent explicit photos to a 15-year-old girl and a woman without their consent gets convicted of cyber-flashing. Cyber-flashing is a new offense under the UK’s Online Safety Act.

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A previously registered sex offender has made history by becoming the first individual in England and Wales to be convicted of cyber-flashing. The 39-year-old, residing in Basildon, Essex, sent unsolicited explicit photos to a 15-year-old girl and a woman. The woman, who received the unsolicited image on WhatsApp, immediately took screenshots and reported the incident to Essex Police. The offender was subsequently arrested and admitted to two charges.

This landmark conviction falls under the new offence of cyber-flashing, which was introduced under the Online Safety Act on 31 January. The offender pleaded guilty to two counts of sending a photograph or film of genitals to cause alarm, distress, or humiliation. He has been remanded in custody until 11 March, when he will be sentenced.

What is cyber-flashing?

Describing cyber-flashing as a grotesque crime, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in the East of England highlighted the importance of delivering swift justice to the victims. They emphasized that the successful conviction demonstrates the effectiveness of the new law. Sefer Mani, a CPS representative, urged all victims of cyber-flashing to report incidents and assured them their identities would be protected. The CPS underscored the significance of feeling safe and not being subjected to unwanted explicit images.

It is hoped that this conviction will serve as a deterrent and encourage others to report incidents.