The Department of Internal Affairs

The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation

 

Intensive supervision for child sex abuse images


12 July 2017

A 24-year-old Rolleston man was today sentenced to two years’ intensive supervision and ordered to attend the STOP programme for sexual offenders after pleading guilty in the Christchurch District Court to a range of offences involving child sex abuse images.

Vincenso Tyrone Wiremu, truck driver, of Rolleston faced 41 charges of making, distributing and possessing objectionable images, videos and texts depicting the sexual exploitation and abuse of children as young as toddlers.

Judge Jane Farish adopted as a sentence starting point 5-1/2 year’s imprisonment recommended by Internal Affairs prosecutor, Marty Robinson. However she imposed the supervision order after strong recommendations from a clinical psychologist and the probation service that prison was inappropriate due to Wiremu’s Asperger’s diagnosis and vulnerability. The judge also ordered that he be prevented from having unaccompanied access to children under 16 or use internet-capable devices for any reason.

Internal Affairs investigated Wiremu after he uploaded 20 objectionable videos to an international file storage site in February-March 2015. The Department uncovered the extent of his offending when it seized computer equipment and mobile phones from his home. He distributed non-sexual images of young children – taken mostly from social media sites ­– encouraging other traders and consumers within his network to interact with the pictures in return for access to his password-protected online albums. He also used a European-based website to store albums and photos and made 1162 objectionable images and videos available to 104 different people.

Judge Farish noted that two of the girls whose images were traded in this case had previously been rescued by law enforcement officers, yet their pictures were traded years later in a way that had ruined their lives, including ongoing attempts by sex offenders to locate and contact them. The judge commended the “excellent work by the Department of Internal Affairs” and its partner agencies in investigating and responding to this “abhorrent” conduct, and noted that penalties had recently been increased in New Zealand as a result of the public’s disgust at such offending.

Internal Affairs’ Censorship Compliance Manager, Stephen Waugh, said: “Child sexual abuse images posted on the Internet, whether created from physical abuse or, taken and sexualised, live on forever. They haunt the children depicted, who live daily with the knowledge that countless strangers use an image of their worst experiences for their own gratification.

“Trading or viewing these images is not passive offending because it condones the abuse children suffer.

“It was also concerning that ‘innocent’ images of children had been taken from social media and used in a sexual way.

“People should be aware that once you post an image on the Internet you lose control over what happens to it.”