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Name Suppression Decision Sends Wrong Message

Media release 18 December 2003

Decision To Grant Name Suppression Sends Wrong Message, Says Child Advocacy Groups

The decision by the Lower Hutt District Court, to grant name suppression to a man who collected images of adult men inflicting sex acts on babies, was deemed unacceptable by groups working to combat child pornography.

Spokesperson for ECPAT and Stop Demand, Denise Ritchie, says “We understand that the Court was concerned that naming the perpetrator might prevent his rehabilitation. While we approve of the perpetrator attending counselling, it is well known that such offenders operate in secrecy. Ongoing secrecy is not a signal that the Courts should be sending out, nor endorsing. One would expect that the potential for future offending would be significantly lessened, if the person were required to be accountable to others. That can only happen when that person has been named. In any event the public, particularly caregivers and children, are entitled to know who these perpetrators are.”

“Such decisions highlight that the Courts do not understand the nature of child pornography. Decisions are too frequently weighted in favour of perpetrators, with no regard for the children and babies who have been sexually violated,” says Ritchie. “This pernicious trade in child pornography exists because of demand. The Courts must crack down heavily on demand, if our hope is to end the trade. One effective way to do so is to name those who are creating the demand, not shroud them in a cloak of secrecy.”

ENDS

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