A paedophile was found with nearly 5000 child abuse images while subject to a strict supervision order supposed to stop him from reoffending.

Michael Lesley Stevens, 30, was sentenced to preventive detention before the High Court at Auckland this morning. He will be behind bars indefinitely, until Corrections believe the community is no longer at risk.

Justice Kit Toogood imposed a minimum jail term of five years.

Stevens had admitted eight charges of possessing objectionable material, doing an indecent act with a boy under 12, indecent communication with a young person and two of breaching his extended supervision order.


In interviews with medical professionals, the defendant continually minimised his behaviour, the court heard.

"Though you recognise sex with children is deviant, you also condone sexual offending," the judge said.

"Your issues leading to the offending certainly and urgently need to be resolved before the community can be considered to be adequately protected from you."

When Stevens was released from prison in 2011 after serving time for other sexual offending, he was slapped with a 10-year extended supervision order because of authorities' concerns.

He was banned from using the internet, had to submit to random room searches and could not associate with anyone under 16 without probation's consent.

Stevens breached the order once when he was found with an internet-capable device and again when he cut off his monitoring bracelet and absconded.

But in October last year, his offending escalated, showing an "alarming disregard" for the order, according to the judge.

While playing an online game, Stevens began chatting to a 9-year-old Wellington boy through its chat forum.

He persuaded the boy to set up a Skype account and after about a day of encouragement the victim sent him photos of his penis, face and body.

Weeks later, the boy's parents found the messages and alerted the police who searched Stevens' South Auckland address.

Michael Stevens covered his face throughout today's sentencing. Photo / Greg Bowker
Michael Stevens covered his face throughout today's sentencing. Photo / Greg Bowker

There they found devices containing nearly 5000 "seriously offensive" objectionable images and videos featuring children as young as 4.

"You did not merely view them, you downloaded them and arranged into folders," Justice Toogood said.

According to court documents one of files was labelled: "The best of kiddy porn 2015".

There was "inestimable harm to the children effected who are revictimised every time the abuse is viewed", he told Stevens.

The judge acknowledged the defendant had a partner and son, who appeared to be his motivation to address his offending, but he was concerned about his overall lack of support networks in the community.

Stevens covered his face throughout today's sentencing and Justice Toogood said he was unable to force him to do otherwise.

Who is Michael Stevens?

Stevens had a "happy upbringing" in Sydney until he was 8 years old, the court heard, when he found out his stepmother was not his birth mother.

Eventually he moved back to New Zealand at the age of 10 but was treated "extremely abusively" by his real mum.

Stevens spent time in Child Youth and Family care, frequently ran away from home and also spent significant periods in youth-justice facilities.

Justice Toogood said he was subject to "traumatic treatment" during that time.

At 16, Stevens became involved in an online community for young gay males as an administrator responsible for excluding older males who may be sexual predators.

"This led to you making connection with older paedophiles, which drew you into a paedophilic subculture where you developed an interest in young boys," the judge said.

By the age of 18 Stevens was jailed for nearly four years for sexual offences against a boy under the age of 12.