A man who made up a story about being assaulted and robbed by three men to hide the fact he had images depicting child sexual abuse on his phone has been sent to prison.
Mark James Woods, 44, was sentenced in the Rotorua District Court today to two years in prison for one charge of possession of objectionable material and one charge of committing an indecent act on a child.
According to the summary of facts, Woods called police to his Glenholme address in August last year and told them he had been assaulted by three unknown males and their dog, and that his cellphone had been taken.
Police spent an hour that night looking for the three men and the next day dedicated more time to the case, prioritising it over a stabbing which saw three people admitted to hospital.
However it was revealed later that month the story had been concocted by Woods after an associate of his found objectionable publications on Woods' phone, and said he would report it to police.
The phone was handed in to police on August 21, as well as the phone's micro SD memory card.
"The true picture became clear and the nature of the police investigation into the defendant changed."
Further police inquiries uncovered girls' underwear at Woods' address and analysis of the phone found it had been used to access websites and save objectionable publications.
In total, the phone and SD memory card contained 5545 images. Of those, 1084 depicted child sexual abuse and exploitation, and 2452 were computer generated animated images depicting child sexual abuse and exploitation.
When arrested Woods described the images as "sick" and admitted he knew it was illegal and wrong to possess them.
Woods was also charged with committing an indecent act on a girl under 12 after a young complainant was identified from an image on Woods' phone.
On four occasions, Woods had got into bed with the girl, touching her arms, legs, back, stomach, thighs and bottom.
In sentencing, Judge Tony Snell said Woods must be held accountable for his actions and "understand the wrongfulness of what you have done".
"Given your remorse you have a low likelihood of reoffending, but are of high risk of harm to others, especially people under 16 years," Judge Snell said.
He said Woods had been willing to undertake rehabilitation to stop reoffending.