The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

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NZer caught in US Internet child pornography operation, fined $15,000


International co-operation between the Department of Internal Affairs and New Jersey state officials led to the conviction today of an Auckland man on 21 Internet child pornography charges.

The Auckland District Court fined the offender $15,000, imposed 12 months2 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 objectionable material.

The Court granted interim name suppression after defence counsel stated that the offender will appeal the Court’s refusal to grant permanent name suppression.

In sentencing the offender, Judge Recordon said that trading and collecting child pornography is a form of sexual exploitation of children and is not a victimless crime.

“The motivation behind the trading of child pornography is sexual gratification,” Judge Recordon said. “A primary purpose of sentencing must be to impose a sentence with a strong deterrent and to denounce the exploitation and sexual abuse of children by adults.

“The abhorrence of such offending is reflected in the current legislative initiative to increase the maximum penalty ten-fold.”

The General Manager of the Department’s Gaming and Censorship Regulation Group, Keith Manch, said that New Zealand action against child pornography is part of international efforts to help prevent the abuse and sexual exploitation of children.

“The tragedy of this man’s offending is that he was collecting and trading images of real children,” Mr Manch said. “They were seven and eight year old girls having sex with adult men, and six to 12 year old boys involved in sexual acts.

“He, like the vast majority of offenders who trade child pornography, was not trying to make money. Their objectives are to expand their collections, and they demand more and more extreme images for their own gratification. They give abusers an audience and incite more abuse to occur.

“Arguments often made that such offending is less serious because it is not about making money are completely irrelevant, and are offensive in themselves. The offending has nothing to do with making money. It is about the desire for sexual gratification from watching children having sex with adults, being abused and in sexualised poses.

“Action against child pornography is not about what people do on a computer, it is about helping protect children.”

In this case, 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 user and executed a search warrant in Auckland.

Analysis of the offender’s computer showed that he had been sending objectionable pictures to other Internet users for two years and had subscribed to various pornographic websites from which he downloaded pictures and movies.

He had 3,455 picture files and 555 movies on his computer. Files selected at random showed that more than 20 percent were objectionable in that they were of children being sexually abused by adults or in sexually explicit poses.


This was the Department’s 123rd successful child pornography conviction since its Censorship Compliance Unit was established in 1997, the 21st conviction this year, and at any one time another 20 to 25 cases are before the courts. That is, on average, the Department’s investigations lead to about two New Zealanders being convicted on child pornography charges every month.

In addition, the Department frequently provides intelligence reports to overseas agencies, which have led to many arrests in other countries.

The Department has seven Censorship Inspectors, whose role is to ensure compliance with New Zealand’s censorship legislation, which includes a ban on child pornography.

“Internationally, our Inspectors and their high success rate are highly regarded,” Mr Manch said. “A comment that is often made is that we have one of very few dedicated censorship compliance units in the world. That means resources and training can be focused on the core work, and the Inspectors do not have to try to allocate time to competing responsibilities.”

Media contact:

Keith Manch
General Manager Phone 04 495 9449, Cellular 027 445 6420

Vincent Cholewa
Communications Advisor Phone 04 495 9350, Cellular 025 272 4270