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Refusal To Grant Permanent Name Suppression Right

21 May 2004

Refusal To Grant Permanent Name Suppression For Child Sex Abuse Image Offending Sends Right Message, Say Child Advocacy Groups

The decision by the Auckland High Court, to refuse permanent name suppression to a 51-year old Auckland company director, for distributing and possessing child sex abuse images, sends the right message, say groups working to stop the trade.

Malcolm Brian Lerner was convicted in October last year of 21 charges of distributing and collecting child sex abuse images, many of which depicted adult men sexually abusing seven and eight year old girls. He was sentenced to 350 hours community work, 12 months supervision and fined $15,000. His application to have an interim name suppression order made final was refused. Lerner’s appeal, to be granted permanent name suppression, was heard in the Auckland High Court on 7 May.

Spokesperson for ECPAT and Stop Demand Foundation, Denise Ritchie, says “The High Court’s refusal to grant permanent name suppression is the right message to be coming from the Courts. It is well known that those who trade and possess child sex abuse images operate in secrecy. Ongoing secrecy through permanent name suppression is not a signal that the Courts should be endorsing. Naming offenders increases their future accountability to others. It reflects the gravity of offending and hopefully acts as a deterrent to others. The public, particularly caregivers and children, are entitled to know who these child sexual exploiters are.”

“The global trade in child sex abuse images exists because of demand. The Courts must crack down heavily on those who create the demand - men like Lerner - if our hope is to end the trade.”

ENDS

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