The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Child sex abuse images: third sentencing in two weeks


A Timaru man, today became the 155th New Zealander convicted following Department of Internal Affairs investigations into collection and distribution of pictures and movies of children being sexually abused. It was the third sentencing in two weeks.

The Timaru District Court sentenced the man to eight months jail on each of four distribution charges. The jail terms are to be served concurrently. The Court also ordered him to attend a sex offender treatment programme for six months after release from jail, and the forfeiture and destruction of his computer and objectionable material. He was convicted and discharged on eight possession charges.

The Director of the Department’s Gaming and Censorship Regulation Group, Keith Manch, said that the Department’s investigations are, on average, resulting in more than two New Zealanders being convicted each month and the Department has another 30 cases before the courts.

“In addition to the 155 convictions in our country, Department Inspectors have provided intelligence reports that have led to many more convictions in Australia, the United States, Canada, Britain and Europe.

“New Zealand has one of the most effective regimes in the world at detecting and tracking people who use the Internet to collect and distribute pictures and movies of children being abused.”

An important point to keep in mind is that the largest group detected in New Zealand is seldom prosecuted. They are teenage boys.

“They get a hell of a fright and are intensely embarrassed when search warrants are executed on their homes in front of their parents,” Mr Manch said.

“The teenagers are usually ashamed of what they have done and voluntarily attend counselling. None of the more than 100 young offenders dealt with in this way has reoffended.”

This case began in January 2003 when a Canadian agency detected what appeared to be a New Zealander making child sex abuse images available on the Internet. He was detected again in August 2003.

Department inspectors were able to piece together information from the two intelligence reports, confirm that it was a New Zealander, identify himand track hime to his Timaru address.

A search warrant was executed in March 2004. His computer, 29 CD-ROMs, 14 floppy disks, four rolls of film, six video cassettes, a video camera and documents were seized.

Analysis of the computer and disks revealed seven electronic movies and 49 pictures, most depicting adult men sexually abusing children. Inspectors were also able to show the accused's history of searching the Internet for child sex abuse images.

Last week he pleaded guilty to eight charges of possessing child sex abuse images and four distribution charges. He is 33 and is unemployed.

He has prior convictions for indecent assaults on children.

Victims and consequences

Mr Manch said that one of the worrying aspects of this case was the man's continued statements that his collecting and distribution of child sex abuse images caused no harm.

“The images are of real children and are an appalling record of what has been done to them,” Mr Manch said. “No one seeing the images could have mistaken them for legal, restricted, adult pornography.

“Offenders encourage more abuse by demanding more images and more extreme images, and by reinforcing the false view that sex with children is acceptable.

“Possessing child sex abuse images is a warning about an offenders’ sexual attitudes to children.”

There have been cases where offenders have tried to “groom” children with pictures and movies. They were saying, “what I want to do to you is okay, look here are pictures”.

The Department has found offenders sharing information about how to meet children. In some cases offenders who had access to children offered those children for abuse.

While very few of the images found over the years were of New Zealand children, research into offenders in New Zealand and overseas has repeatedly shown that, statistically, there is a correlation between offenders’ who collect and distribute child sex abuse images and other offending against children.

“Our actions are not about pictures on a computer. They are part of New Zealand’s commitment to help prevent the abuse of children.”


The Government has introduced to Parliament proposed amendments to the Films Videos and Publications Classification Act that would increase the maximum penalty for distributing child sex abuse images to up to 10 years jail and that for possession to up to five years jail. The amendment bill is expected to have its second reading shortly.

Media contact

Keith Manch
Director Gaming and Censorship Regulation Phone 04 495 9449, Cellular 027 445 6420

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