The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Supervision orders and sex offender treatment, important part of sentencing


Today, for the second time this week courts have included supervision orders and treatment and counselling as part of the sentences imposed on offenders who had been collecting and distributing child sex abuse images.

The Dunedin District Court today sentenced a university student on 12 charges relating to collecting and distributing videos and pictures of toddlers and children being sexually abused by adult men and being sexually posed.

Judge Stephen O’Driscoll imposed a 12 month supervision order including treatment as directed and ordered the offender to do 300 hours community work. After extensive arguments from the prosecution and defence, Judge O’Driscoll accepted the defence arguments and granted name suppression because of the particular circumstances of this case.

Judge O’Driscoll also said that offending involving child sex abuse images is viewed seriously by the courts and needs to be condemned.

On Monday in the Christchurch District Court Judge Michael Crosbie placed an offender on a nine-month supervision order requiring him to have psychological treatment as directed. In addition, he was fined a total of $2,400 plus $130 costs and ordered to do 120 hours community work. Forfeiture of the computer and destruction of all the objectionable material was also ordered.

Department of Internal Affairs Deputy Secretary Andrew Secker said that the Department hopes that including supervision orders and treatment as part of sentences will become more common, even standard practice in cases where a jail term is not imposed.

However, it is important to note that Parliament has increased the maximum penalty 10-fold, to up to 10 years jail, which is likely to mean more, as well as longer, prison terms being imposed.

“We are not talking about supervision and treatment instead of a penalty,” Mr Secker said. “It is in addition to penalties.

“Treatment aims to help prevent reoffending, it looks to the future. However, the harm already done by the offending must not be ignored and penalties are a form of compensation to the community, punishment for the offender, and a deterrent to others.”

Mr Secker said that it is vital that the treatment be appropriate to the offending.

“It must be specifically aimed at treating sex offenders and must deal with people who are sexually aroused by children,” Mr Secker said.

“We believe that some sort of general counselling or visiting a psychologist with little or no experience in working with child sex offenders is not only a waste of time and money but can be dangerous by giving a false perception that the treatment was successful.”

Summary of offending

This case began in October 2003 when the Department received information that a person who appeared to be a New Zealander was making child sex abuse images available on the Internet.

The Department investigated, was able to eventually identify the person and track him to his Dunedin home.

Department Inspectors and a Police officer executed a search warrant in March 2004. The Inspectors seized a laptop computer, 19 disks and a digital camera.

While the warrant was being executed the offender took a disk out of a drawer in his desk and destroyed it. He said the disk had pirated music files on it and he was concerned about being charged for copyright breaches.

When interviewed he said that he never deliberately sought child sex abuse images but received them accidentally while obtaining adult pornography. He also said that he immediately deleted any child sex abuse images that found their way into his computer.

The Department’s analysis of the computer and disks showed the offender’s statements were untrue. The analysis revealed 30 videos and 740 pictures of children, many of them toddlers and very young girls, being sexually abused by adult men and forced into sexual poses. It also found a history of the offender using file-sharing software to collect and distribute child sex abuse images and burning files onto CDs.

The Department prosecuted the offender, charging him with one charge of making an objectionable publication, four relating to distribution of child sex abuse images and seven relating to possession. He pleaded guilty to all charges.

Media contact

Andrew Secker
Deputy Secretary Phone 04 495 9329, Cellular 027 281 5211

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