The identity of a Wellington man who admitted viewing child pornography and bestiality for "research" will remain secret.

The middle-aged man last year pleaded guilty to 40 charges of possession of objectionable material.

Judge Bruce Davidson said when sentencing the man in Wellington District Court today that he had been caught after New Zealand authorities were alerted in late 2009 to a chat room set up by an Australian couple who had been abusing their child.

Chatroom logs showed he had an "unhealthy interest in child sexual abuse", his home was searched and computers, DVDs and memory sticks were seized.

Advertisement

They revealed images of children being sexually abused, and included bestiality.

The man claimed he was undertaking "surreptitious research into the economics of the pornography market" - an explanation Judge Davidson described as "rather unusual" and "devoid of reality".

The offending was premeditated and organised, and the specific, aggravating factor was the exploitation of young children.

Judge Davidson sentenced him to seven months' home detention and 180 hours' community work, and ordered his name be permanently suppressed.

Defence lawyer Mike Antunovic had argued for permanent suppression, saying psychiatrist Justin Barry-Walsh had assessed him and "couldn't be clearer that there is a very real risk of suicide, death, if his name is published".

The man also had a "vulnerable young child" who would suffer if her father's name was published.

Crown prosector Tom Gilbert opposed the name suppression, saying there was significant public interest in the case and that the man's mental health had stabilised.

As well, he should not be able to "use having kids as a way of avoiding responsibility for what he has done".

Advertisement

Judge Davidson said he accepted there was "significant" public interest in the case.

However, the man's daughter had already undergone intensive therapy and there was a fear publication of his name would be a significant, retrograde step in her treatment.

That, combined with the suicide risk, outweighed the public interest element.

"Both of these risks are risks that I am not prepared to take," he said.