The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Computer repair company helps convict collector of sex pictures of young girls

1/11/ 2004

Information from a Christchurch computer company led to the conviction today of a Christchurch man, for collecting pictures of young girls who had been posed sexually for electronic photographs to be taken.

He was fined a total of $4,000 plus costs. Judge Stephen Erber also ordered forfeiture and destruction of the computer hard disk that had been seized.

Judge Erber noted that the man is currently unemployed but said that there is growing concern in the community about such offending and the level of fine must be a deterrent to others.

The Acting Director of the Department of Internal Affair’s Gaming and Censorship Regulation Group, Peter Burke, praised the actions of the company.

“Receiving information from the public is an important part of all law enforcement work,” Mr Burke said.

“There is a common misconception that reporting a possible crime is a breach of privacy laws. It is not.

“If you see a burglary and report it to the Police you are acting as a responsible citizen and are helping protect someone’s property. If you find information about movies or pictures of children being sexually abused or sexually posed and you report that, then you are being a responsible member of the community by helping protect children.”

The Department always treat complainants’ identities as confidential and does not release their names. It will not name the computer repair company.

In this case, in September 2003 the company reported finding what it thought might be objectionable material on a computer hard disk brought in to it by the man.

A Department Inspector examined the computer and found 207 images of young girls who had been posed sexually for photographs to be taken.

When interviewed, he denied all knowledge of the pictures but analysis of his home computer found that the same 207 images had been present on that system and had been viewed but had since been deleted. It also found evidence of searches of the Internet for sexual pictures of children.

The Inspector interviewed him again, and he then admitted seeking out, collecting and storing the images.

He said that he had a preference from girls aged from 13 to 16 and he had only collected sexual images of children because he was between girlfriends. He admitted that this sounded “creepy” but denied having a sexual motive for collecting the images.

At the time of his offending he was a website design student. He is now 26 years old. He pleaded guilty to 10 representative charges of possessing objectionable material.


The Films Videos and Publications Classification Act prohibits the collection and distribution of objectionable material. Images of children being sexually abused or sexually posed are objectionable under the Act.

Current penalties are:

  • for possession, fines of up to $2,000 per charge
  • for distribution, fines of up to $20,000 on an individual or up to $50,000 on an organisation, or jail terms of up to 1 year on an individual.

Parliament is considering an amendment to the Act that would increase the penalties for possession to up to two years jail and those for distribution to up to 10 years jail.

Media contact:

Peter Burke
Acting Director Phone 04 495 9449, Cellular 027 242 1447

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