James Ihaka

James Ihaka is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Italian child exploitation inquiry leads to NZ arrests

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

A police inquiry originating in Italy has led to the arrest of a Te Awamutu couple on child abuse, internet child exploitation, firearms and drugs-related charges.

Waikato police crime manager Detective Inspector Chris Page said the arrest of the 37-year-old man and his 32-year-old female partner, his subsequent appearance in the Hamilton District Court today and the woman appearing in court in Christchurch late last month, were part of an inquiry that spanned several months.

"A case arose from an investigation by Italian authorities last year into the use of the internet for obtaining and distributing material related to child exploitation.

"As a result of their inquiries, the Italians provided a number of images, including one that appeared to be of a New Zealand child with a male. This led to the launching of a multi-agency inquiry that resulted in a Te Awamutu man being recognised by a Cambridge detective and the file being referred to Te Awamutu CIB.''

Mr Page said during the course of an extensive investigation material relating to the possession and distribution of objectionable material related to the exploitation young boys was identified.

"In addition a number of firearms and drug offences were identified as occurring early last year. On June 20 detectives arrested the pair in Christchurch and charged the man with 69 offences pertaining to sexual abuse against very young children, a multitude of objectionable material matters and further firearms-related offences.

"The woman was charged with one count of making an objectionable publication. When located the man was found to be using a pseudonym and to have obtained a false birth certificate and driver's licence.''

Mr Page said while the case had progressed to the point of being put before the court, investigators were continuing their work and a multi-agency inquiry was continuing.

- NZ Herald

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