Child sadism and bondage found in porn stash

June 14, 2018 | By More

Sadism and sexual abuse of toddlers was among the internet pornography found in the possession of a Canterbury sportsman and churchgoer.

His online viewing and distribution has wrecked his home and ended with him being led sobbing to prison to begin a two-year three-month jail term.

It also sent a woman rushing in tears from the Christchurch District Courtroom where he was being sentenced as she realised he was not going to be granted name suppression to protect the family.

The man cannot be named. As soon as Judge Brian Callaghan refused the suppression, defence counsel Andrew McCormick had the interim suppression order continued until Monday so that he can file appeal papers.

The suppression will remain until the appeal is heard in the High Court, probably in a few weeks. In any case, the name of the community where the family lives has been suppressed.

The 39-year-old man was found with 3450 images and videos, and 65 percent of it was assessed as being at the worst level of child sexual abuse. He had admitted two charges of distributing nine objectionable child abuse images online, and one charge of possessing 3450 of them.

Mr McCormick said the man was well known in church and sporting circles in his local community. He urged that suppression be granted to protect his family, and the application for suppression was supported with documentation from the man’s wife.

The man sat downcast in the dock, with his eyes closed, while Judge Callaghan described some of the material found hidden on his computer and external hard drive.

The material involved sadism and penetrative sexual activity involving toddlers, pre-pubescent children, and young teenagers. Some involved bound and gagged children. The charges refer to images of the sexual abuse of girls as young as two to five years.

Crown prosecutor Sean Mallett said the material involved a significant number of children – they had all effectively been victimised by the man. It was known that children abused for online pornography grew up with damaged self-esteem, difficulties with trust, and problems establishing relationships. They faced “public shame and stigma which has no end”.

He urged that a long prison term be imposed, and said a home detention sentencing would not properly denounce and deter the offending. The Department of Internal Affairs, which laid the charges, opposed the man having name suppression.

He told the judge: “The children receive no anonymity when their images are traded on the internet. They continue to be victimised.”

Mr McCormick said the man was mortified by his behaviour and the consequences it had caused for his family. He had offended by distributing material by posting it online during a 24-hour period in 2015.

Since he had been spoken to in 2016, he had gone to a STOP course for sexual offenders. The course had led to a change in his thinking – he now understood the harm that such images caused to the victims.

Judge Callaghan said Parliament had increased the level of penalties in a determined effort to put an end to this type of offending.

The effect on the victims was substantial. “No doubt that they will have life-long issues if this is the way they have been treated at such a tender age.”

He reduced the jail sentence because of the man’s guilty pleas, his attendance at the STOP programme, and his lack of any previous convictions.

But he imposed a term that was beyond the two-year term where home detention could be considered. The computer equipment will be destroyed, though files of family photographs and documents will be retrieved and given to the man’s wife.

The man will also be registered as a child sex offender.

The judge considered the application for final suppression but said it did not meet the “extreme hardship” threshold required and he refused to make the order.

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