The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Jailed for offering child sex abuse movies

An Auckland computer systems engineer was jailed for 15 months today when he appeared for sentence in the Auckland District Court on 23 charges of possessing and distributing objectionable publications. He is the sixth person to be jailed this year in Internal Affairs Department prosecutions for such offences.

Judge Eddie Paul told a 38-year-old Ellerslie man his actions perpetuated the evil that the Films Videos and Publications Classification Act was trying to stop -- “the persecution of young persons in a gross and abhorrent way”.

An Internal Affairs Department censorship inspector, monitoring the Internet, detected the man making available child sexual abuse movies. A subsequent search of his computer system revealed some 400 disturbing files of very young children being sexually abused.

Internal Affairs Deputy Secretary, Keith Manch, said the conviction established a valuable legal ruling which offenders indulging in similar activity should take note of.

The man had pleaded not guilty to the eight distribution charges arguing that he was a passive bystander while others took files from his computer. But Judge B N Morris, who convicted him in February, found that saving objectionable images on an Internet sharing programme was distribution under Sections 122 to 124 of the Act.

Referring to American cases, Judge Morris said to not take steps to move files to inaccessible folders, or not to deactivate the file-sharing ability of the peer-to-peer programme on one’s computer does constitute distribution and is not simply a passive state whereby others take files without any action on the user’s part.

Keith Manch, said three years ago Parliament increased the maximum jail term for distributing objectionable images from one year to 10 years.

“The judgement in this case indicates that people like him must acknowledge their responsibility for the sexual abuse of children to feed this trade,” Keith Manch said. “And the courts are increasingly turning to the tougher penalties Parliament provided in February 2005.”

Media Contact:
Keith Manch, Deputy Secretary, Department of Internal Affairs
Ph 04 495 9329; cell 021 227 6363
Trevor Henry, communications adviser, Department of Internal Affairs
Ph 04 495 7211; cell 0275 843 679