Jamie Morton

Jamie Morton is science reporter at the NZ Herald.

Child porn offender wants name suppression

A businessman admits to a raft of charges after sharing images with an investigator. Photo / Thinkstock
A businessman admits to a raft of charges after sharing images with an investigator. Photo / Thinkstock

A prominent Waikato businessman caught sharing child porn with an undercover investigator in an online chatroom is now fighting to keep his identity secret.

The company director yesterday admitted a raft of child porn charges - including distributing objectionable images - after sharing computer files and passwords with the Department of Internal Affairs investigator.

Between August and October 2010, the investigator made contact with the man under a user name and received and downloaded files from him using an application named Gigatribe.

Police and department staff executed a search warrant at the man's business address, seizing a laptop computer, external hard drives, cellphones, documents and other storage devices.

Two folders were found to contain 390 files containing explicit pictures and movies, while more material was found on DVD ROMs and laptop back-up files stored on external hard drives.

Some of the files had been copied and were stored on multiple devices.

The specific content of the files were too graphic for the Herald to publish.

When questioned, he admitted his Gigatribe user name was that which the investigator had contacted in a chat session, according to court documents.

He stated it was "possible" he had some objectionable files on his laptop and had deleted some in the past.

The man also "vaguely recalled" the chat session and told police he only knew New Zealand's censorship laws "in general" and "nothing specific".

A sentencing-indication hearing at Tauranga District Court yesterday heard how the man had turned to pornography to assist sexual difficulties, which led to an addiction.

He viewed the material both at work and on a personal laptop computer while his wife, who was unaware of her husband's secret activities, was not present.

Crown prosecutor Hayley Sheridan told Judge Peter Rollo that given the seriousness and number of the charges, a community detention sentence would be "insufficient".

Judge Rollo indicated the man would be given a sentence of home detention, to be followed by a year in a counselling programme.

His lawyer said the man's wife, who supported him from the public gallery, would be "especially vigilant" to prevent any further offending.

Judge Rollo also noted a psychological report stated the man had shown "huge remorse", that he had no previous convictions, was "prominently" described as someone "of good character" and had contributed to the community both personally and through business.

But he said his offences were "very serious" and had consequences for many, including the victims.

"I don't believe any right-minded person anywhere on our planet would condone this sort of offending and what was involved in the production of these images. It would be described as universally wrong by any right-minded person."

The Crown opposed continuing name suppression for the man, however his lawyer argued publishing his identity could have a significant impact on his business.

Judge Rollo allowed interim suppression to continue and is expected to release a written decision before the man's sentencing in March.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n3 at 19 Sep 2014 11:20:50 Processing Time: 790ms