The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

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Beneficiary fined $10,450 for possession of child sex abuse images, told to sell his house if needed to pay up


The Whangarei District Court today sent a strong warning to offenders who collect movies and pictures of children being sexually abused when it fined an Oakura beneficiary, $10,450.

Judge Barbara Morris said that the man's offending constituted a form of child abuse and he should face the appropriate level of penalty. She noted that he owns a house and said that he should pay the fine in instalments while arrangements are made to sell the house.

Judge Morris could not imprison him because at the time of offending possession of child sex abuse images was a fine only offence. Since then Parliament has amended the law, and offences committed after February 21 this year carry maximum penalties of up to five years jail for possession and up to 10 years for distribution.

Department of Internal Affairs Deputy Secretary Andrew Secker said that the accused's collection included pictures of adult men abusing baby girls as young as two years old.

Mr Secker said that the public should have no illusions about what offenders like this are collecting and what harm that does.

“These are real children suffering real abuse.

“Collectors encourage more abuse by demanding more images and more extreme images, and they spread the false message that sex with children is acceptable.

“The Department’s actions are not about pictures on computers. They are part of New Zealand’s commitment to helping protect children from abuse.”

This case began in May 2003 when a Canadian agency detected a New Zealander using a peer-to-peer application on the Internet to collect child sex abuse images.

The information was provided to the Department, which investigated and was eventually able to identify the New Zealander and track him to his home.

In March 2004 Department Inspectors and Police executed a search warrant at his house. The Inspectors seized his computer and computer accessories.

The Inspectors’ analysis of the material seized revealed two movies of 14 year old girls and 227 pictures of girls aged from two to 12 being sexually abused by adult men.

When interviewed by Inspectors he was asked why he had the movies and pictures.

He said: “I like it. So I could look at it” and stated that he had a preference for pictures of a sexual nature involving children.

The Department filed 19 representative possession charges. He pleaded guilty to all charges. He is a 51-year-old beneficiary and gardener.

The Court fined him $550 on each charge and ordered forfeiture and destruction of the computer and accessories seized under the search warrant.

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Vince Cholewa
Communications Advisor Phone 04 495 9350, Cellular 027 272 4270