A judge has granted permanent name suppression to a prominent Manawatu man who downloaded more than 300,000 pornographic images, many of children.

The man, who was charged with 25 counts of possessing objectionable material and one count of distributing pornographic images on the internet after an FBI investigation led to his arrest last year, was sentenced to four months' home detention when he appeared for sentencing in Palmerston North District Court yesterday.

The Manawatu Standard reported that between 2007 and 2009, the man downloaded the images off the internet on his personal computer at home. He also stored images on an external hard-drive.

Many of the images had young naked girls posing in sexualised positions.

Judge Grant Fraser said he granted permanent name suppression to protect the man's family, his mental state, his wife's job and his ability to rehabilitate.

"I've also accepted without hesitation the public interest and the public being aware of the character of you, and I've also taken into account the seriousness of your offending," Judge Fraser said.

"In this case there is no offending against any individuals within the New Zealand community.

"Therefore publicity in my view is not required to flush out any potential offenders or to enable members of the community to keep themselves safe from you."

Crown prosecutor Ben Vanderkolk said granting name suppression could be seen as protecting a person in a privileged position. He also disputed the need to protect the man's children as they were well informed about the offending.

But Judge Fraser cited it as a unique case in which the man had already suffered from his actions.

The man had just reached the pinnacle of his career last year when his house was searched by police.

He had since lost his employment and significant income and was suspended from his professional occupation.

He had also begun therapy to treat his paraphilia.

Judge Fraser also said while the consequences were "immeasurable" and would hang over his head for the rest of his life, the children and women in the images would also have to deal with the life-long effect of abuse.

- NZPA