Online child abuse porn addict avoids jail term

January 16, 2017 | By More

Toddlers could be heard crying out for their mothers in internet child abuse videos found in the possession of a Christchurch father who has just avoided a prison term.

The man, in his forties, was given the maximum 12-month term of home detention. His sentence on 31 charges by Christchurch District Court Judge Emma Smith just slipped inside the limit where home detention could be considered.

He was also granted final name suppression, because of the likely effects on his children, one of whom has health difficulties.

The judge said that his children “are likely to suffer unkindnesses that the community can visit on children in such circumstances”.

She usually worked as a Family Court judge, she said. “I know what happens to children because of what their parents do.”

The man is self-employed and has been estranged from his wife for some years. He had pleaded guilty to 16 charges of possession of objectionable images or videos for supply, or supplying them, and 15 possession charges.

The images and videos included indecencies and penetrative sex involving children aged between one year old and 14 years. They involved children being forced to conduct sexual acts upon each other, and with adults. Some involved dogs.

Children aged one or two years were heard crying out for their mothers during one of the videos, said Judge Smith. There were an estimated 45 individual victims in the material, though they had not been identified.

She said the man had used a peer-to-peer file sharing system to download the files. The system meant that the files on his computer could be accessed by others and this had happened 16 times. The man’s search history indicated he had knowingly searched for these types of files. His searches included “kiddie”, “one-year-old”, “toddler”, and “pedo”.

The police search of his computer showed 105 files, and some of them were in the worst category.

Defence counsel Elizabeth Bulger said that before police had executed their search warrant, the man had visited his doctor and had obtained a referral to a psychologist or psychiatrist because he wanted to get help.

He had since begun attending the STOP programme for sex offenders. “Obviously, it is really early days and there is a lot of intervention ahead of him, but engagement has been made and it is a good start,” she said.

Judge Smith said it was not “victimless” offending. “On the contrary, they are crimes that have highly vulnerable victims, by age.” The abused children would carry the burden of that abuse into adulthood.

She noted the man’s steps to rehabilitation, his remorse, and his early guilty pleas. He had been co-operative with the police and had admitted his addiction to online child pornography had been going on for several years.

She told him: “I believe you have now begun to appreciate the extent of the victimisation. It is about human trafficking, sex slavery, and gross violations of children’s rights.”

She granted suppression because of the extreme hardship that was likely for the man’s children, but she noted: “Sporting organisations get very distressed when they learn years later that there are offenders among them who aren’t known about, particularly when there are children involved.”

She decided that because of the man’s rehabilitation steps, his registration as a sex offender was not required.

 

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