Commissioner Supports Tough Line On Child Porn.
Wednesday, March 3, 2004
Children's Commissioner supports tough line on child pornography
The Children's Commissioner says tougher sentences for people convicted of possessing or trading child pornography are needed to protect children from child abuse.
Dr Cindy Kiro has welcomed the first reading of the Films, Videos and Publications Amendment bill, which will see people producing, trading or distributing child pornography face up to 10 year's jail. Dr Kiro says the new legislation as an important recognition that people trading or possessing child pornography are encouraging abuse of children.
The Department of Internal Affairs has worked hard to prosecute people caught producing, trading or distributing child pornography but most offenders are fined or sentenced to community service, Dr Kiro says.
"Sentencing should reflect the fact that child pornography involves sexual abuse of children."
Dr Kiro points to the case of a Tauranga man, who this week pleaded guilty to possessing more than 150 pictures and computer videos of children being sexually abused. She says this offender faces a maximum fine of $2000 for each of the charges of possessing objectionable material, and two further charges of storing objectionable material in shared files carry a $5000 maximum fine.
"Information from the Department of Internal Affairs shows many offenders believe possessing child pornography is a victimless crime. Light sentences help perpetrate this myth."
A good example of this is the defence lawyer's argument in the Tauranga case that his client's offending is at the lower end of the scale because the legal penalty for his offending is a fine rather than a court sentence, Dr Kiro says.