The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Two years jail, $19,000 fine for New Zealander at centre of international Internet child pornography network


A New Zealander who ran the servers at the centre of an international Internet child pornography network was sentenced to two years imprisonment and fined $19,000 today by the Waitakere District Court.

The Court also ordered the destruction of the computers the man used to run the network and all the CDs that had been seized by the Department of Internal Affairs.

The network linked at least 700 users of child pornography internationally. Investigations are continuing in the United States and Europe, and arrests are likely there.

The General Manager of the Department’s Gaming and Censorship Compliance Group, Keith Manch, said that this was New Zealand’s biggest and most serious child pornography case to date.

Mr Manch said the defendant was copying, advertising and trading more than 240,000 pictures and films of children aged between three and 14 years. Of those images, 36,387 were objectionable, in that they were of children being sexually abused or in sexual poses.

“The real tragedy of this case is that each picture and movie is of a child or children being abused or debased for the ‘pleasure’ of an international market,” Mr Manch said.

“He made $20,000 by collecting and selling pictures and films of children being abused. His business was about making money from the sexual exploitation of children.”

After his first court appearance he was interviewed on television and justified his offending saying, “There was no viciousness or evilness involved in having them on there [the pictures and films on his computers and CDs], it was just purely, just to me just another photo.”

At a subsequent court appearance he pleaded guilty to 48 charges of breaching the Films Videos and Publications Classification Act, which prohibits child pornography.

Mr Manch said that his comments highlight one of the myths about child pornography. That is, the false belief that it is acceptable to collect or trade pictures of children being abused because they are ‘only’ pictures.

“Child pornography encourages child abuse. To create the pictures and films, children are abused. Users of child pornography try to expand their collections with increasingly extreme material. To feed this ‘market’, more children are abused, and their suffering recorded.

“It does not matter that the children being abused are overseas. If we do not take international action against child pornography, then we, in effect, condone that abuse.

“Even though most child pornography in our country is from overseas, it endangers children here. It debases children by portraying them as sexual objects that can be used as desired by adults and reinforces the false view held by some that sex with children is acceptable.

”The objective of the law is to help protect children. Every prosecution closes down a child pornography trader for months, years or forever. We are focusing resources on this work. No one in New Zealand can continue to trade child pornography without us eventually discovering them.”

In this case, the Department’s investigation began in April last year when Interpol London informed it that there was a New Zealander advertising on Internet newsgroups that he had movies of preteen boys for sale.

Further information showed that the New Zealander was using a fast Internet connection to host two child sex web sites.

Department Inspectors tracked the New Zealander to a Henderson home, identified him and executed search warrants in December last year. Two computers and 19 CDs were seized.

The Department’s investigation found that he was charging $US29.95 a month for access to the “members’ gallery” on his websites. The gallery contained 97,049 pictures, 2,008 of which were objectionable.

He was also charging $US50 each for CDs. Those found at the man's home contained 143,442 pictures and 256 films, of which 34,274 pictures and 105 films were objectionable.

The pictures and films were all of children, and all the objectionable material related to sex with children.

Media contact:

Keith Manch
General Manager Gaming and Censorship Regulation Phone 04 495 9449, Cellular 027 445 6420
Vincent Cholewa
Communications Advisor Phone 04 495 9350, Cellular 025 272 4270