The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Internet café owner fined for selling and possessing objectionable movies


Selling and possessing electronic movies of women and children being sexually abused has cost an Auckland Internet cafe owner, $5,440 in fines and costs and the forfeiture and destruction of his computer hard drive.

The Auckland District Court today sentenced him on two charges of copying and selling a movie of women being violently abused and 14 possession charges.

Department of Internal Affairs National Manager Censorship Compliance Steve O’Brien said the conviction resulted from information provided by the Motion Picture Association (MPA).

The MPA is a United States-based organisation that operates internationally, protecting copyright on movies. In April 2003 an MPA representative bought several movies at the accused's store and passed them on to the Department.

“We are always grateful for information from the public,” Mr O’Brien said. “While any individual piece of information might not lead to an investigation, it will be noted and could prove useful in future.

“Some people had been incorrectly concerned that the Privacy Act might prevent them reporting information about possible crime. Reporting a possible crime to the appropriate authorities is not a breach of the Privacy Act.

“In addition, our Inspectors visit between 400 and 500 retailers, rental businesses and markets each year,” Mr O’Brien said. “Overall, compliance is good but where we find objectionable material we will take action against it.”

Summary of offending
One of the movies passed on to the Department was believed to be objectionable and three days after receiving it Department Inspectors and a Police officer executed a search warrant on the man's Takapuna store.

The Inspectors seized a computer, accessories and CDs with movies recorded on them.

The movies were of adults sexually abusing girls aged from five to 14 years, violent abuse of women and bestiality.

The Department charged him with copying, selling and possessing objectionable material, which is prohibited by the Films Videos and Publications Classification Act.

He denied all the charges and denied that any of the movies were objectionable. The movies were referred to the Office of Film and Literature Classification (i.e. the censor’s office) and were all classified as objectionable.

After a series of court hearings a defended hearing was to be held this morning. As the hearing began the man changed his plea to guilty on all charges. He was sentenced this afternoon

He is a 45-year-old shop owner of Auckland with no prior convictions.

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