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Child Pornography Sentence

Media release 31 July 2003

Child Pornography Sentence

The 20 months prison sentence handed down to Aucklander Stewart Williamson was welcomed by anti-child pornography group ECPAT. “But”, says ECPAT spokesperson Denise Ritchie, “While we appreciate that the Courts are restricted by our existing laws, it is still a light sentence by international standards.”

ECPAT says that New Zealanders like Williamson are contributing directly to the ongoing online sexual violation of children. “Online child sexual violation is a trade that would not exist, but for demand. Demand comes from New Zealanders like Williamson and some 500 Kiwis who have to date been caught trading and possessing images of children being sexually violated.” Denise Ritchie says “the cooperation between Norwegian law enforcement and New Zealand’s dedicated DIA team highlights the global commitment to combat the trade. Where New Zealand is weak, and where it is failing the international community, is in its outdated laws and weak penalties. ”

Despite murmurings of an increase in penalties earlier this year, the Government has yet to show it is moving with any urgency on promised law changes. “For our small population, New Zealanders are serious contributors to the trade in child pornography. We must crack down heavily on demand, if we ever hope to reduce the trade. One of the obvious ways in which this can be achieved is by the New Zealand Government moving smartly to change our laws. This will allow Courts to impose much heftier penalties than we are currently seeing. We have observed a flurry of activity around dog attacks, boy racers and the like. But the online sexual abuse of children? We are still waiting.”

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