The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Jail for child sex abuse images a warning to offenders “you will be caught”


The Department of Internal Affairs sees the jailing of Auckland computer technician as a warning to any New Zealander collecting and distributing child sex abuse images: “if you choose to continue, you will eventually be caught”.

Department Deputy Secretary Andrew Secker said that Department Censorship Inspectors spent two years drawing together information from the FBI in the United Sates, the Vancouver Police in Canada and their own investigations in New Zealand to track, identify and convict a computer professional who was doing his utmost to hide on the Internet.

“He knew all the tricks. He had professional training. He worked hard at keeping his offending secret,” Mr Secker. “He also had good knowledge about how we operate because he has previously been convicted on similar charges. But we still found him and successfully prosecuted him.”

In 2003 the man had been fined, ordered to do community work and placed on supervision for two years on 29 charges of distributing, advertising and collecting pictures of babies, toddlers and children being sexually abused by adults.

In that earlier case the Judge stated that he had narrowly escaped a prison sentence even though the images he distributed were as bad as could be imagined.

Yesterday afternoon, in the Waitakere District Court Judge Lisa Tremewan jailed him for a year, to be followed by six months on special release conditions including psychological treatment as directed. Judge Tremewan refused to allow him leave to apply for home detention. He had pleaded guilty to a total of 33 charges of collecting, advertising and distributing pictures of children aged from two months to 10 years being sexually abused and assaulted by adults.
Summary of offending

Mr Secker said that since the prior offending the man had used various subterfuges to avoid detection while he continued to use the Internet to collect and distribute child sex abuse images.

In April 2003 the FBI found a person who appeared to be a New Zealander using an area of the Internet known as Internet relay chat to collect and distribute child sex abuse images. Those pictures included the extreme abuse of baby girls.

Department Inspectors were able to show the person was a New Zealander but could not confirm his identity. As in all such cases the Department did not close the file, knowing that if the offending did not stop it would in time be able to add further information.

In October 2004 Inspectors found a person using a different Internet identity offering to exchange sexual pictures of young children. In December that year information from the Vancouver Police helped Inspectors confirm that person, too, was a New Zealander.

In January 2005 the FBI provided information about another Internet identity, possibly a New Zealander, offering to exchange child sex abuse images.

By collating the information from the different sources the Department was able to investigate and show that the accused had used all the identities. He was tracked to his home address in Massey, Auckland and Inspectors and a Police officer executed a search warrant in February this year and seized his computer.

Analysis of the computer found 249 picture files, all of young children, mainly babies, being sexually assaulted. Analysis also showed a three-year history of extensive use of the Internet to collect and distribute child sex abuse images and that several thousand picture files had been deleted.

When interviewed by Inspectors he admitted using the different Internet identities and said that sexual abuse of babies interested him because it was “grotesque”. He said that he began deleting picture files this year following media publicity about action against other offenders.

The Department prosecuted the man who pleaded guilty to 26 charges relating to advertising and distributing child sex abuse images and seven representative possession charges.


Mr Secker said it is important that New Zealander offenders be aware that this man's offending occurred before Parliament amended the Films Videos and Publications Classification Act, greatly increasing the penalties.

“The maximum penalty Judge Tremewan could impose on the advertising and distribution charges was up to one year imprisonment,” Mr Secker said. “It is now up to 10 years.

“There was no jail option on the possession charges, it is now up to five years.

“Offenders are warned, stop offending or accept the eventual consequences. Our Inspectors will not let up and under the new penalties courts will be able to impose much longer periods of imprisonment.”

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