Skip to main content
 
 
 

Indecent Images of Children – Indicative or Not?

Indecent Images of Children – Indicative or Not?

Indecent imagery classification - use of 'indicative' - by computer forensic expert Steve Guest of Keith Borer Consultants

The term “Indicative” appears to be gaining prevalence in prosecution SFRs and Statements in relation to digital evidence – but what exactly does that mean for your cases?

Indicative:  Serving as a sign or indication of something”

Indication:  Point out; show”

What is indecent?

Whether or not an image is indecent (or whether an unidentified subject is under the age of 18) is a matter of judgement. Whilst an examiner should make every attempt at objectivity, there is no direct guidance as to what may be considered indecent other than in accordance with recognised standards of propriety”, which introduces a level of individual interpretation of such standards in the assessment of images.  The ultimate determination of the nature of the image rests with the Court. The assessment of such images by an examiner, retained either by the prosecution or the defence, may therefore be confirmed or rejected by a higher authority.

Categorisation of images

The Sentencing Council provide guidelines to the categorisation of images identified as potential Indecent Images of Children, these being at categories A – C, with ‘A’ being the most serious. These are the categories, and the only categories, defined by the Council and were published in 2014.

The current categories were derived from the 5-point Sentencing Advisory Panel scale, dating from 2002, which itself drew upon levels 4 – 10 of the earlier therapeutic COPINE scale, levels 1 – 3 of the COPINE scale being outside the scope of the legislation.

Level 1 (the lowest level) of the COPINE scale was named “Indicative” and read “Non-erotic and non-sexualised pictures showing children in their underwear, swimming costumes from either commercial sources or family albums. Pictures of children playing in normal settings, in which the context or organisation of pictures by the collector indicates inappropriateness” (author’s emphasis).

As highlighted earlier, the term “Indicative” appears to be gaining prevalence in prosecution SFRs (Streamlined Forensic Reports) and Statements and, in many cases, the authors appear to be unaware of, or to ignore, the matter of “context or organisation”.

'Indicative' and context

In recent casework, examples of images presented as “indicative” have included “bath time” photographs of the client’s own children as babies/toddlers amongst hundreds of other family photographs, single pictures of children in swimsuits automatically downloaded when online shopping sites had been accessed, and similar images from the unallocated disk area, for which no provenance could be ascertained. In none of the cases referred to were those images present in any significant quantity and in each case the computer was a multi-user family computer.

What is presented, however, is a seemingly authoritative statement that “indicative” images were present, often with no clarification as to what is supposed to be “pointed out or shown”. Some reports go further and use terms such as “indicative of a sexual interest in children”, or even, in at least one case, “indicative of paedophile tendencies”. It is contended that the only persons qualified to make the latter statements would be experts in clinical or forensic psychology.

In a recent case, in which no unlawful images were located, “indicative images” were referred to as supporting evidence regarding another offence. Having seen the images, I queried their assessment with the prosecution examiner who informed me that they had been identified by automatic classification software. This would raise the question – how could such software in any way identify contextual issues?

'Indicative' bias

It may be queried why the (mis)use of a simple word may be considered so important: A forensic examiner who uses this term may influence the investigating officer, prosecutors, the defence, and potentially the Court. This tendency is exacerbated by the misuse of Streamlined Forensic Reports which, rather than being used as an investigative starting point, are being presented “as is” to the Court. In many cases the quantity of images considered by the examiner to be “indicative” may markedly outweigh those alleged to be unlawful.  It is suggested that this assertion could skew the mindset of some or all the parties to the case and unduly disadvantage the client in cases in which there is very real and reasonable doubt as to the nature of the images charged, or in relation to matters of intent.

There are, of course, occasions on which users are found to be in possession of curated collections of inappropriate, though not unlawful, images in which reference to those images may be appropriate in support of the prosecution case. In such cases, the nature of that evidence should be clearly stated and not merely be represented by a number in a table.

During an examination, if so instructed, Keith Borer Consultants' digital evidence experts can assess the nature, location and history of “indicative” images along with charged images and comment upon whether such an assertion can be justified, potentially altering the balance of the prosecution case.  You can contact us by email or telephone.

Steve Guest, Forensic Computer Expert

Subscribe To Mailing List

To unsubscribe click here

What our customers say...

  • You provide a good service and work within the constraints of the LAA funding.

    Solicitor – April 2018
  • Both our client and I were very impressed by your expert evidence. I will be singing your praises for years to come.

    Solicitor – July 2019
  • That is a very good statement; please thank Ms Kiernan for me.

    Solicitor - December 2017
  • Extremely efficient.

    Solicitor – August 2018
  • We have been instructing KBC for the last 20 years or so, and they are listed as our first choice on our database. I have never had any cause for complaint and the experts have always acted with integrity and professionalism.

    Solicitor – January 2019
  • Great communication and updates.

    Solicitor – December 2018
  • Thank you for writing the report so quickly. Very helpful.

    Solicitor – August 2018
  • Extremely prompt service.

    Solicitor – July 2019
  • Richard Brown’s knowledge of the subject matter was excellent, his report clear and detailed, and his explanations … instilled confidence.  I would happily use him again.

    Counsel – February 2018
  • Efficient and very responsive.

    Solicitor - April 2019
  • Impressed with all aspects – knowledge, presentation, lines of communication.

    Solicitor – January 2018
  • May we thank Mrs Allan for an excellent report.

    Solicitor – March 2018
  • I have previously attended a demonstration of the techniques used by the experts at Keith Borer Consultants.  What they can achieve is genuinely astonishing.  I require my instructing solicitor to immediately contact Keith Borer Consultants and seek out their assistance.

    Colin Buckle, Barrister – September 2018
  • Many thanks for your very helpful and professional report.

    Solicitor – June 2019
  • I was very grateful to your Mike Prime for assistance he gave me on a case recently when he went out of his way to assist, despite the fact a trial was imminent and it became clear I would not have the chance to formally instruct at that point. I thought that was very impressive.

    Solicitor – October 2018
  • Richard Brown always provides accurate and impartial advice, which makes the advocate’s job so much easier when advising clients or presenting the case in court.

    Barrister – November 2018
  • Excellent service from Alan Henderson and his report assisted me in cross examining the Crown witness.

    Solicitor – May 2018
  • Competitive price – within LAA Standards; approachable, polite staff and great expert.

    Solicitor – January 2018
  • Would use the service again with no hesitation.

    Solicitor – January 2018
  • We did a generic Google trawl and ‘short-listed’ you because of your experience/credentials but (having contacted others) selected you because you were efficient, quick off the mark and personable.

    Private Client – April 2018
  • The service was both timely and accurate - exactly what was required in a developing trial.

    Solicitor – November 2018
  • Mrs Allan gave extremely clear evidence.

    Barrister – July 2019
  • Eager to assist at very short notice and very helpful on the phone.

    Solicitor – May 2019
  • Always a good service.

    Solicitor – September 2018
  • Quick telephone answering, excellent understanding of the issues facing us i.e. prior authority, court dates changing at last moment, need for rapid responses.

    Solicitor – December 2018
  • Clear communication, very good advice, good quality of forensic report.

    Solicitor – January 2019
  • Please thank Orla Sower for her excellent work on this case.

    Solicitor – November 2018
  • You are considered the ‘go to’ expert service within our firm.

    Solicitor – January 2018
  • Complete satisfaction with services.

    Solicitor, September 2019
  • Mr Brown and the work he did were excellent in every respect.  We are grateful to him for his prompt and professional assistance.

    Solicitor – September 2018
  • Excellent communication, timescales met despite difficulties with police & CPS.

    Solicitor – November 2018
  • Mr Prime attended punctually on each day of this case.  He possesses a very approachable and helpful attitude.

    Solicitor – October 2018
  • Thank you so much for your impeccable service.

    Solicitor – November 2017
  • I instructed Mr Armstrong on a recommendation from another counsel and will certainly recommend him to my colleagues in future.

    Barrister – November 2018
  • As always, I am entirely satisfied by the services provided by your company.  These are provided to the highest level.

    Solicitor – January 2018
  • I prefer your company because you are relatively local and approachable.

    Solicitor – March 2018
  • I don't know what you are paying Alan Henderson, but I'd say it isn't enough.

    Solicitor - November 2017
  • We’ve had years of excellent service from you.

    Solicitor – August 2018
  • We have been extremely impressed with your work throughout the entire course of the proceedings.

    Solicitor - November 2017
  • Friendliness and complete empathy in what was a very stressful situation for me.

    Private client – September 2018
  • The attention to detail in Mr Tarpey’s preparation and his knowledge of the case shone through when he was cross-examined.

    Senior Counsel – February 2018
  • We were kept continually up to date about the progress of the report.

    Solicitor – May 2018
  • I was impressed by the time and detail taken in producing the proposal of (cell site analysis) work which made it really easy to understand how the service was going to help us.

    London Borough of Brent Council - December 2017
  • Report was delivered on time as promised.

    Solicitor - December 2017
  • Prompt and efficient handling of initial enquiries and arrangements to inspect Prosecution exhibits.

    Solicitor - March 2019
  • Have used you before and always found you efficient and easy to deal with.

    Solicitor – August 2018
  • Alan Henderson is a leading expert in his field and I have used him for a number of serious cases over the years.

    Solicitor - November 2017
  • I am really grateful for your assistance in this case; I am sure it made the pivotal difference.

    Solicitor – May 2019
  • Mr Prime was able to provide assistance with matters as they arose, which was invaluable.

    Solicitor – November 2017
  • Based on many previous instructions to assist with our cases, the reports produced by your Experts are always helpful.

    Solicitor – July 2018
  • John Tarpey's expert report was full and allowed me to present the material to the court effectively and allowed me, with his assistance, to effectively challenge the prosecution expert's assertions.

    Barrister – November 2018
  • Prompt and reliable service.

    Solicitor – October 2018
  • I was delighted by Mrs Tweedy's professional and thorough approach.

    Mr Saltrese - September 2019
  • Brilliant job and response to late and urgent instructions – very much above and beyond what we would expect.

    Solicitor – July 2018
  • We find you reliable and expeditious.

    Solicitor – July 2019
  • Quick response to our request; friendly members of staff.

    Solicitor – September 2018
  • Responded efficiently with clear advice.

    Solicitor - December 2017
  • Known to us as credible experts, who provide a first class service.

    Solicitor – December 2018
  • Have used Keith Borer in the past for many different types of reports and would do so again.

    Solicitor – December 2018
  • Mike Prime’s presentation on paper, in conferences and from the witness box was excellent on what is a very difficult and sad case.  My client’s family particularly wished to express their gratitude.  They found that he made “more sense than the prosecution expert”.

    Solicitor – October 2018
  • Responsive, fast turnaround, quality reports, legal aid rates.

    Solicitor - April 2018
  • Reliable and trustworthy.

    Solicitor – August 2018
  • Mr Bunter was fantastic.

    Solicitor – February 2018
  • Easy to read report.

    Solicitor – July 2018
  • Quick response, easily contactable.  Never had to instruct expert for this type of report and you provided us with all the information to enable us to request the necessary consent from CPS etc.  Very helpful.

    Solicitor – November 2018
  • Compassionate and professional attitude.

    Private client – March 2018
  • I cannot speak more highly of the quality of the report.  Mr Prime is now my ‘go to’ expert.

    Solicitor – September 2018
  • Fiona Taylor provided quick responses to all of my questions and queries. The service was very professional throughout, from my initial enquiry to receiving the Report.

    Solicitor – July 2018
  • Extremely quick and efficient.

    Solicitor – September 2018
  • Speedy, efficient and professional as always!

    Solicitor – March 2018
  • We have been using your services for a number of years and have always been very happy with the service provided.

    Solicitor - April 2019
  • Outstanding.  Mr Prime was conscious of duty but compelling in his approach to the evidence.

    Counsel – April 2018
  • Good quality work.

    Solicitor - December 2017
  • Thanks to Sarah Morley for her help: her evidence was very important in bringing this case to justice and it is greatly appreciated.

    Solicitor - August 2019
  • Overall helpful and efficient service.

    Solicitor, September 2019
  • Helpfully swift responses – in respect of both fee estimates and reports.

    Solicitor – January 2018
  • We have used you many times before and have never been anything but entirely satisfied. We will continue to do so.

    Solicitor – June 2018
  • Helpful, speedy and good quality.

    Solicitor – May 2019
  • No improvement needed.

    Solicitor – July 2018
  • Please thank Richard Brown very much for the rapid turn round of this report.

    Solicitor – March 2018
  • Your report is fantastic and much appreciated.

    Private client - April 2019
  • Mr Farley was exceptionally good in the witness box and very robust under cross examination. I would not hesitate to instruct him again.

    Counsel – May 2018
  • We are very grateful to Mr Prime.  He made himself available at short notice and was contactable over the phone beforehand in order to clarify/confirm certain aspects of the case.

    Solicitor – May 2018
  • Easy to use BAC calculation form, fast turn around.

    Solicitor, September 2019
  • Mr Cook’s report was easy to follow for those who are not experts in this field and explained the method and conclusion fully.

    Solicitor – October 2018
  • Your firm remains my first choice for collision expert reports.

    Solicitor - November 2017
  • We are very grateful to Mr Marryat for all the hard work he has done for us.

    Solicitor – June 2019
  • Expert always contactable and very helpful (Alan Henderson).

    Solicitor – January 2018
  • We were impressed by the quality of the report and competitive cost.

    Solicitor – July 2018
  • Your service was exemplary.

    Solicitor – January 2019
  • Used KBC for years; always found you efficient and helpful.

    Solicitor – May 2018
  • After the initial phone call, I knew I had contacted the right organisation.  The report just reaffirmed what I already knew.

    Solicitor – October 2018
  • Mr Cook completed the report very quickly and to a high standard, despite the very short timeframe in which he was given.

    Solicitor – October 2018
  • Very quick response to both our initial email enquiry and all emails. Helpful and approachable staff and experts.

    Solicitor – August 2018
  • Always very quick, but also thorough and well written. Always very professional.

    Solicitor – November 2017
  • Richard Brown is an excellent expert witness.

    Barrister – November 2018
  • You guys are simply the best.

    Solicitor - September 2018
  • We would be extremely grateful if you could thank Ms Gray again for her incredible report.

    Solicitor - March 2019
  • Alan Henderson was a very knowledgeable witness, clearly very familiar with his subject matter and capable of explaining it too. I would not hesitate to use him in the future.

    Barrister, August 2019
  • Comprehensive and comprehendible expert’s report; first class response to queries.

    Solicitor – December 2018
  • Pleasant and efficient replies and support by all staff.

    Solicitor – November 2017
  • I have to thank you for all the help you have given me in preparing for this and in giving your evidence, which I think was very convincing and went a long way to this acquittal. 

    Solicitor - March 2019
  • Mr Armstrong was very professional and presented his analysis to the Jury in a very helpful way.

    Barrister – July 2019
  • The website had all the key words that I was looking to see for an expert in the area of interest.

    Solicitor – October 2018
  • We are especially impressed by the Expert's willingness to discuss a case over the telephone before a formal instruction and the fast turnaround for completion of reports.

    Solicitors – June 2018
  • I found the quality of the report very high, and I am aware that Dr Davey had to work hard to hit the deadline because of other commitments.

    Solicitor – January 2019
  • The service we have received is 5* and very much appreciated.

    Solicitor - November 2017
  • Adrian Armstrong is an excellent witness who easily out-shone the police expert.

    Barrister - November 2018
  • It is about professionalism, efficiency, attention to detail, courtesy and kindness.  It is a very, very long time since I have dealt with any group that was as quick to respond and as efficient as you all were.

    Private Client – April 2018
  • Consistently reliable. Reports are very easy to read.

    Solicitor – July 2019
  • The Evidence given by Mr Dunnill resulted in the trial of issue being found in the client's favour, thereby avoiding immediate custodial sentence.

    Barrister, August 2019
  • Quick, accurate and easy to speak to expert instructed (Mr Tarpey).

    Solicitor - December 2017
  • Prompt, succinct, communicative and pleasant to deal with.

    Solicitor – January 2018
  • Dr Helen Davey was, as always, excellent. From her initial report to her attendance at a conference and court. Her expertise is apparent and her ability to explain difficult issues is outstanding.

    Counsel – August 2018
  • Instant reply on whether they can help or not; excellent with keeping us updated; fantastic report.

    Solicitor - April 2018
  • Alan Henderson was excellent.  Very knowledgeable on this area of law.  Provided an excellent report, with speed.

    Solicitor – November 2018
  • Efficient and helpful in a complex case.

    Solicitor – December 2018
  • The service Ryan Knight provided was excellent.

    Solicitor – January 2018
  • Very impressive and thoroughly excellent performance in the witness box.

    Counsel – February 2018
  • Alan Henderson is always contactable, his work is always impeccable and juries have always liked him.

    Solicitor - November 2017
  • Many years ago, when working for another firm, we regularly consulted yourselves and always received an outstanding service.  It’s good to find that after probably 25+ years, your standards have not slipped.

    Solicitor – March 2018
  • Clear information about cost, speed and efficiency of report.

    Solicitor - March 2019
  • Keep doing what you do.

    Solicitor – November 2017
  • I was very impressed both with the clarity of Dr Davey’s report to the layperson, and her even-handedness. The objective tone of the report and the fact that the opposing party’s expert agreed with the analysis gave Dr. Davey’s evidence a huge amount of credibility. I would recommend her to anyone in need of similar evidence and have no doubt that her evidence was vital to us winning the case.

    Diarmuid Laffan, Barrister - June 2019
  • Please pass on my gratitude to Mr Marryat for being able to compile a report in such a quick turnaround. Much appreciated.

    Solicitor, August 2019
  • Please thank Sarah Morley for her sterling work.

    Solicitor – November 2018
  • Always try to instruct, if possible, due to excellent service provided.

    Solicitor, September 2019
  • Report prepared well and is a format we could understand. Written in a way that the lay person can understand.

    Solicitor – June 2018
  • Superb outcome in the case ... as a direct result of Mr Prime discussing matters with his counterpart.  Very, very impressive.  Good, too, with the client.

    Counsel – April 2018
  • Gave a very knowledgeable and detailed account which no doubt assisted in securing the successful appeal.

    Counsel, November 2017
  • We have used KBC for our forensic requirements for many years. The service has always been excellent, timely and useful.

    Solicitor – November 2018
  • Please pass on my thanks to Emma Youngson for the speed at which she completed the report; I am very grateful.

    Solicitor - July 2019
  • It is always easy to contact KBC and to get a prompt reply.

    Solicitor – July 2019
  • Prompt and efficient communication, met the deadline, carried out the instructions.

    Solicitor – October 2018
  • Fab service from your Ross Donnelly & Mark Henderson - thank you.

    Counsel – March 2018
  • Very thorough report.

    Solicitor – June 2018
  • Very quick, very clear report.  Excellent service at all times.

    Solicitor – March 2018
  • Thank you very, very much - impeccable service as per usual.

    Solicitor – April 2018
  • Very good testimony on all accounts; measured and reasonable.  There is nothing I would change about Mr Dunnill’s evidence or manner in giving it.

    Counsel - January 2018
  • Ultimately, the mere fact that we had instructed yourselves as experts and the difficulties the police had … in my view went some way towards convincing the CPS that they needed to review the case and ultimately discontinue it.

    Solicitor – April 2018
  • John Tarpey's evidence was critical to the success of this case.

    Senior Counsel – February 2018
  • Very prompt professional service.

    Solicitor – November 2017
  • Quality service, helpful staff, prompt reports.  Our company has used Keith Borer Consultants for many years.

    Solicitor - February 2019
  • Richard Brown was excellent and his professional manner/quality of evidence won the day for us - compared with the prosecution expert! Quality counts!

    Solicitor - June 2018
  • We have worked with you for a number of years and find your work accurate and reliable.

    Solicitor – April 2018
  • Excellent reputation.

    Solicitor – May 2018
  • Great report - it really shows off your skills compared to the prosecution (so-called) experts. Thanks so much.

    Counsel - June 2018
  • Local, efficient, competitive and quick.

    Solicitor – February 2018
  • Mr Cook’s evidence was clear and concise and did not waiver under cross-examination.  His efforts in this case are greatly appreciated.

    Solicitor – October 2018
  • Very good.

    Counsel – May 2018
  • KBC’s efficiency never ceases to amaze me!

    Solicitor – January 2018
  • Easy to find on Google and seemed like decent, legitimate company at decent price.

    Private client - March 2019
  • I found Mr Prime to be a very good natured and competent expert witness who presented well in the witness box.

    Barrister – July 2019
  • Quick, efficient and professional.

    Solicitor - February 2019
  • Very good, in fact excellent!

    Solicitor – February 2018
  • Exceptional service.

    Solicitor – November 2018
  • Service had a quick turnaround and any queries were quickly addressed.

    Solicitor - March 2019
  • Thank you for getting back to me so quickly. This is exactly what we needed.

    Solicitor – July 2019
  • Speed, efficiency and accuracy.

    Solicitor – June 2018
  • I found the service to be very professional throughout.

    Solicitor, October 2019
  • The prosecutor found Dr Davey's report particularly well considered which undoubtedly informed his decision not to proceed with the case. Can I thank you very much for your help in this matter.

    Solicitor – December 2018
  • We have used KBC for many years: always helpful, plenty of experts & LAA seems to be happy with estimates for CRM4 application purposes.

    Solicitor - August 2019
  • Thank you very much, again, for the professionalism of your expert witnesses.

    Barrister – November 2018
  • You have always been excellent.

    Solicitor – May 2018
  • Have used many times previously and always been extremely satisfied with the service and reports.

    Solicitor – November 2018
  • We compared you with another less costly service, but considered you to be more professional.

    Solicitor – February 2018
  • Quick, efficient, approachable expert (Mr Fagan), with excellent communication skills.

    Solicitor – January 2018
  • Attentive. Quick. Professional.

    Solicitor – July 2018
  • Amazing!

    Counsel – July 2018
  • I would like to thank you both for all your help on this case, and the tasks you had to perform at short notice.  Your assistance was greatly appreciated.

    Solicitor - May 2019
  • Reasonably priced compared to other experts.

    Solicitor – May 2019
  • Used you many times previously and the service is always exceptional.

    Solicitor – January 2018
  • Helen Davey’s report is excellent, as are all the reports that she has written for us.  She is always very willing to provide advice and answer questions and is also a very nice person.

    Solicitor – July 2018
  • As always, your firm goes out of its way to assist.  Together with the high standards of reports, it is why I have used your firm since the 1980’s.

    Solicitor – May 2018

Keith Borer Consultants is a division of Orchid Cellmark Ltd, a company registered in England at 16 Blacklands Way, Abingdon, OX14 1DY.

Registered No. 4045527; VAT registration No. GB 750 0292 64

Website developed by Problue Solutions