A kiwifruit contractor twice convicted of child pornography offences has escaped jail, but his home detention sentence and rehabilitation will be closely monitored by the sentencing judge.
Ross Alexander Mundy, 48, of Te Puke, was sentenced to nine months home detention by Judge Robert Wolff in Tauranga District Court yesterday after earlier pleading guilty to 24 charges of knowingly possessing objectionable materials.
Mundy will also be subject to 12 months of post-home detention conditions, requiring him to continue to attend any treatment programmes he had started and other rehabilitative measures as directed.
Seven years ago, Mundy was jailed for a year after admitting 41 child pornography charges involving the possession, distribution and creation of objectionable materials.
His latest child porn crimes came to light on April 4 last year when an Internal Affairs investigator was checking the internet for Kiwis offering and sharing child sexual abuse publications.
When the inspector downloaded 20 picture files Mundy was sharing, 18 were found to be objectionable. During a search of Mundy's home on May 18 last year, officials seized computer and other items containing about 100 current and deleted objectionable files.
Mundy admitted to the investigator he knew what he was doing was illegal but stated he offended at a time when he was "depressed and down in life" due to lack of work and money. In her submission, Crown prosecutor Sharee Christensen told the court a prison sentence was appropriate.
But Mundy's lawyer Tony Balme argued in favour of home detention. Mr Balme said Mundy had "abstained" from this type of offending for seven to eight years but had lapsed under stress and was willing to attend any treatment programme available to him. Mundy had already gone to a psychologist for help, he said.
Judge Wolff said sentencing was difficult particularly in light of Mundy's similar prior convictions.
"Clearly this offending is serious not just for the gratification it gave you, but serious for the children who were unnecessarily exposed to this demeaning and damaging conduct in order to fulfil your cravings and the cravings of others who share your predilection."
Any sentence imposed must send a deterrent message and yet it must also try to deal with the underlying issues which led to this offending, the judge said.
Judge Wolff said given the seven-year hiatus in Mundy's offending and the rehabilitative steps he had taken, he was prepared to take a "therapeutic" approach to sentencing and step back from prison. But Judge Wolff told Mundy he would be subject to three-monthly judicial monitoring reports and also warned that any breach of his sentence would result in him being returned to prison.
Mundy was also banned from owning and using a personal computer, accessing the internet and barred from associating with anyone aged under 16 unless supervised.