A Northland man wept in the dock as he pleaded guilty to 72 charges mainly relating to child sexual exploitation and sexual violation of children under the age of 12.

Brent James Ruddell, 33, appeared in the High Court at Whangārei before Justice Timothy Brewer, who heard the case via an audiovisual link on Thursday.

Justice Brewer lifted name suppression and granted the Northern Advocate's application to take photos.

The charges included possession of 26.8g of cannabis and possession of a pipe for smoking methamphetamine, but the bulk of the charges related to hundreds of videos and photos depicting child sexual exploitation and making objectionable videos involving children.


He entered guilty pleas to 41 charges of knowingly made objectionable material, 11 charges of possession of objectionable material depicting child exploitation, 12 charges of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection, two of sexual conduct with a female under 12, one charge each of abduction for sex, exported prohibited item depicting sexual exploitation of a child, unlawful possession of an objectionable publication and distributed an objectionable publication.

Ruddell was flanked by two security officers and his lawyer, Doug Blaikie, who was permitted to sit in the dock with him, as the charges were read out and a plea entered for each charge.

Ruddell at one point sobbed and said: "I'm sorry for what I've done."

The offending started in the Bay of Plenty in 2016 and then again in Northland during 2019.

Mike Smith appeared for the Crown. Ruddell was remanded in custody for sentencing in August.