The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


High Court names Auckland company director convicted of distributing images


The Auckland High Court has lifted an interim name suppression order on an Auckland company director who was convicted last year on a total of 21 charges of distributing and collecting child sex abuse images, predominantly of adult men sexually abusing seven and eight year old girls.

In October 2003 the Auckland District Court had fined the man ($51) $15,000, imposed 12 months supervision including assessment and treatment as directed by a Probation Officer, ordered him to do 350 hours community work and ordered forfeiture and destruction of the computer and child sex abuse images.

The Director of the Department’s Gaming and Censorship Regulation Group, Keith Manch, said the District Court gave him interim name suppression at the start of the prosecution. At the sentencing, [name of offender] applied for a permanent suppression order but the District Court refused to grant this. He then appealed the conviction, penalty and refusal to grant name suppression.

The defendant eventually withdrew the appeals against conviction and sentencing. His appeal in relation to name suppression was heard on May 7 and yesterday Justice Priestley issued his reserved judgment.

Mr Manch said that the Department’s policy is to oppose name suppression in cases involving child sex abuse images. Such offenders operate in intense secrecy because not only are their actions illegal but they are based on the sexual abuse of real children, they endanger children by inciting more abuse to occur, and they are socially abhorrent.

In sentencing [name of offender], District Court Judge Recordon had stated:
“The overriding principle is publication and this is set out very clearly in our New Zealand Bill of Rights Act. The public is entitled to know what you have been doing through your business computer. To allow your ongoing and permanent anonymity would do a major disservice to the children you have abused and would signal to others that offending of this sort may hide behind the cloak of secrecy. That is not a signal our courts should give.”

This case began when the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice recommenced a website as part of an undercover operation. It had obtained e-mail addresses of previous subscribers and contacted them stating that the website had experienced technical difficulties, had lost all its content and was now trying to rebuild.

In return for submitting images, users were offered free subscriptions to the website or a refund for the time that the website was down.

A New Zealander responded by sending six pictures of boys aged six to 12 in sexual poses.

In April 2002, the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice passed information to the Department. The following month the Department identified the New Zealander, found the offending was occurring at his business in Auckland and executed a search warrant.

Analysis of the his computer showed that he had been sending child sex abuse images to other Internet users for two years.

He had 3,455 picture files and 555 electronic videos on his computer. Files selected at random showed that more than 20 percent (i.e. more than 690 pictures and 110 videos) were objectionable in that they were of children being sexually abused by adults or in sexual poses.

He pleaded guilty to six charges of copying objectionable files for distribution and 15 sample charges of possession.

Justice Priestley stated that production and distribution of child sex abuse images is pernicious and involves the abuse of defenceless, young children. It appeals to paedophiles and sexual deviants, and offenders like thisoffender financially assist the exploiters of young victims.

Background note for writers and editors:
“Child sex abuse images”: explaining our terminology

The Department of Internal Affairs has made the decision to no longer use the words “pornography” or “porn” when it describes the images on which most of its prosecutions are based. This avoids the risk of confusing the abuse of children with images of consensual adult sexual activity.

Most of the Department’s action is against electronic movies and pictures of children being raped, abused or violently assaulted. It uses the phrase “child sex abuse images” to more accurately describe these images.

Where the images are of children in sexual poses or involved in sexual acts, the Department uses the phrase “sexual images of children”. However, it is important to always keep in mind that children being sexually posed, or made to take part in sex acts, are being abused and exploited by those very actions, their images may be on the Internet forever, and the images promote the exploitation of more children.

The Department never uses the phrase “kiddie porn”. Most people working in prevention of sexual abuse, and those who work with its victims, find the term offensive. It is a mocking phrase that minimises rape, assault and exploitation of children.

The Department acknowledges the right of writers and editors to set their own style and standards. While the final decision on what words to use is their responsibility, the Department asks that the points made in this note be considered when our statements are used.

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