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'Laughable' child porn sentences

Alexander decries 'laughable' child porn sentences

United Future law and order spokesman Marc Alexander today said harsher sentences for peddlers of child pornography can't come soon enough, calling Justice Minister Phil Goff's attention to the "laughable" sentences the crime is still attracting.

Citing the case of Lower Hutt painter Anthony Johansen, who was last week convicted of distributing child pornography and received a $6950 fine, Mr Alexander told Parliament yesterday that in other jurisdictions such an offender would have been looking at 10 to 15 years in jail.

He asked Mr Goff if it was not ridiculous that such fines often barely offset the profits made in trading child pornography.

"Every time we see one of these cases where justice really is not being done, we must continue the call for stronger sentences now.

"Hopefully my member's bill, the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Amendment Bill, will go some way to clarifying the law in this area so we can keep these creeps from preying on our kids," he said.

Mr Alexander said a look at some of the recent sentences handed down to child porn offenders in New Zealand recently made grim reading.

Last year, 11 New Zealanders were convicted on charges relating to internet child pornography, and the highest penalty was a two-year jail sentence and a $21,000 fine.

Indeed, only a handful of around 100 New Zealanders convicted for such crimes have gone to jail, with most getting fines in the vicinity of $3000 to $6000.

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