The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Joint operation nabbed sexual abuse image offender

21 December 2009

A joint operation involving the Department of Internal Affairs and the Victoria Police Sexual Crimes Squad resulted in a repeat offender being jailed for three and a half years on charges involving the possession and distribution of child sexual abuse images.

A 45-year-old truck driver, of Dunedin appeared for sentence in the Dunedin District Court today on 22 charges brought by Internal Affairs and Dunedin police involving the possession, distribution and making of objectionable publications and attempted sexual grooming of a 15-year-old girl. The Department prosecuted the man in 2002 on similar offences, for which he was sentenced to eight months imprisonment.

Judge Paul Kellar directed that he serve at least 21 months in prison noting he had refused to accept responsibility for his offending, shown no insight and was not interested in any rehabilitative programme or counselling.

Crown counsel, Richard Smith, told the court the recidivist nature of the man’s offending warranted a minimum period in prison to hold him accountable for the harm he had caused and to protect the community. The offender had sent objectionable movies to an undercover officer believing he was a 14-year-old girl, engaged in the sexual grooming of a vulnerable and considerably younger female via text messages, distributed objectionable images extensively and tried to conceal his offending with the use of external computer hard drives.

Internal Affairs Deputy Secretary, Keith Manch, said Melbourne police’s Internet Child Exploitation Team told the Department’s censorship compliance unit in August 2008 that a New Zealander had supplied child sexual abuse material to one of their covert officers. The Department identified the culprit about the same time that Dunedin police investigated him following a separate complaint about objectionable images on his computer.

Keith Manch said the sentence is a reminder to all offenders how seriously society views the exploitation and abuse of children in furthering this trade.

“Those who use the internet to trade images of child abuse or to groom children for other sexual offences should understand that enforcement agencies around the world are cooperating to find them and stop them,” he said.

“The Department appreciates this international co-operation in tracking down those who perpetuate this despicable industry. We are talking about defenceless young children being forced into degrading and dehumanising sexual conduct for the gratification of people who collect and view the results of these assaults.

“We are also disappointed that the man has refused treatment through the Kia Marama programme. The Department always encourages offenders to seek help at the earliest opportunity. Participating in such programmes aids their rehabilitation and helps them appreciate the effects of their offending on the victims.”

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