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Alexander: Home detention for child porn must stop

Thursday, 6 May, 2004

Alexander: Home detention for child porn must stop

When a Blenheim man convicted on 30 charges of collecting and distributing 455 images of babies and young children being raped and violently sexually abused gets just eight months of home detention, then the law is an ass, United Future's Marc Alexander said today.

"I have two objections. First, he shouldn't be in his living room, he should be behind bars. And secondly, eight months? What a joke!" Mr Alexander, United Future's law and order spokesman, said on the sentencing of Stephen Karl Folster.

"Home detention should not be an option for the crimes of child abuse and child pornography. It sends all the wrong signals about what is acceptable in this society.

"Whether the Government likes it or not, home detention says 'don't be too disturbed by this; you're not a serious criminal because we don't think you should go to jail'.

"Wrong. Jail is where Folster should be - and for a lot longer than eight months."

Generally speaking, the child porn sentences were still woefully inadequate, Mr Alexander said, citing the case late last month Ross Allen Mundy, who offered a seven year old boy for sexual purposes to others, and received just a 12-month sentence.

"Twelve pathetic months. But at least he will serve it in prison."

Under the Films, Videos and Publications Classification Amendment Bill, the maximum penalty for knowingly possessing child pornography will be increased to two years. But under section 97 of the Sentencing Act, a sentence of two years will remain the cut-off point for leave to apply for home detention.

For those who did commit these crimes at home, as Folster did, home detention is hardly a punishment, Mr Alexander said.

Internal Affairs investigating officers have argued in opposing leave for home detention, that home detention makes it nearly impossible to guarantee that such offending won't continue.


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