Activist and union organiser Joseph Robert Davies has been left “a broken man” after being caught for child abuse pornography offending, according to his lawyer.
Defence counsel Kerry Cook said the 60-year-old’s life had been ruined by his offending – he had pleaded guilty to five charges brought by the Customs Department of possessing, distributing, and exporting objectionable material.
Mr Cook said: “He has lost his job, lost his retirement savings. His relationship is under significant strain. He has lost of lot of his friends, and lost forever his good name. He has suffered public humiliation.
“He is truly a broken man because of this.”
Davies was appearing in the Christchurch District Court for sentencing after admitting the charges in June.
Mr Cook said the pre-sentence report referred favourably about the support people available to Davies. The community would be best served by him being allowed to remain in the community and continue with the rehabilitation he was paying for himself.
Crown prosecutor Heather McKenzie said the location of Davies’ collection of images had never been found. She questioned the effectiveness of the elements of “general deterrence” raised by the defence.
The court was told earlier that he had been arrested for images or videos distributed or exported through his involvement in internet chat rooms, and found on his computer. The images involved penetrative sex between adults and girls aged under 12, sadism, bondage, exposure, and erotic poses.
Judge Tom Gilbert said: “This is not a victimless crime. Each image depicts a real child, somewhere in the world, being horrifically violated.”
The offending caused “incalculable misery to innocent kids around the world”.
Davies had been involved in anti-apartheid protests and had dedicated himself to assisting others. He had been active in aid movements and was a trade union representative.
That made it the “greatest contradiction” of the offending – how could a man who was aware of the plight of others, engage in offending which, at its core, involved the defilement of children.
Because of Davies’ distinguishing personal circumstances, he could grant home detention. Davies’ offending was just as abhorrent as others’, but “as a person you are different”.
He imposed an 11-month home detention term, with an additional year of post-release conditions. Davies will be allowed no internet access unless it is supervised and for work purposes. A probation officer will be allowed to check the browsing history of any computer he uses.
He will also have to do 250 hours of community work.