The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Child sex abuse pictures and videos earn jail time

15 September 2016

A 25-year-old unemployed man has been sent to jail (14 Sept) for two years nine months for distributing pictures and videos of the sexual abuse and exploitation of children.

The Department of Internal Affairs said Robert Stuart Smith of Henderson had distributed almost a thousand objectionable pictures and videos in various batches to 121 people. In total he emailed more than 42,000 files. A forensic examination of his computer and an online account revealed that he possessed over 3565 unique image and video files depicting the sexual abuse and exploitation of children.

Judge Robert Ronayne in the Waitakere District Court said the case involved “real victims, real children”. Images of babies, toddlers and children up to pre-teen he had been shown in preparation for sentencing were distressing.

Judge Ronayne used as a starting point four and a half years’ jail, reduced by taking into account Smith’s guilty plea, family support, youth, co-operation with the Department and “questionable” attempts at rehabilitation. He considered him a recidivist offender because he had previously admitted similar offending but had failed to complete a SAFE treatment programme.

Internal Affairs’ Censorship Compliance Manager, Stephen Waugh, said Smith’s detection was another example of law enforcement agencies cooperating with industry to help detect and prevent the abuse of children.

“The United States based online provider detected Smith distributing known child sexual abuse images. This detection caused a report to be sent to the United States’ National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children which was referred to DIA in New Zealand,” Stephen said. “This case is another example of how this type of offending is very much international and requires a cohesive response from all organisations involved. It also shows that it’s only a matter of time before those who deal in this material get caught.”

Media contact:
Trevor Henry, senior communications adviser, Department of Internal Affairs
Ph 04 495 7211 or email