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Child Sex Image Offending Sentence Encouraging

14 October 2005

Precedent-Setting Sentence For Child Sex Image Offending Encouraging

Today’s decision by the Hamilton District Court to impose a substantial jail term to a man convicted of distributing and possessing child sex abuse images was encouraging, says a group working to combat the trade.

The sentence handed down by Judge Cooper to David Malcolm Walker was the first to come under significantly toughened laws that took effect in February this year. The convictions related to electronic movies and pictures of children aged from three months to 13 years being sexually abused by adults and being sexually posed.

Walker, a 44-year-old senior draughtsman from the Waikato, was sentenced to three-and-a-half years prison for seven representative charges for distribution. In a precedent-setting decision, Walker was the first to receive a term of imprisonment for possessing objectionable material, for which he received an 18-month prison term. Both sentences are to be served concurrently.

Spokesperson for Stop Demand Foundation, Denise Ritchie, says “Today’s precedent-setting sentence reflects Parliament’s decision earlier this year to overhaul previous laws that were inadequate and did not reflect the seriousness of offending.

These offences are not about censorship; they are about sexual crimes being committed against children. Offenders like Walker contribute directly to the global demand for these images.

Children are raped, abused and exploited in the making of these images. Many will be victims of coercion, intimidation, force or trafficking. Those not raped will have been sexually posed and degraded by men with cameras to feed the appetites of men like Walker.”

“If we are to make any inroads into stopping this modern-day sexual abuse of children here and overseas, we must focus on stopping the demand for such images,” says Denise Ritchie. “Imposing lengthy prison sentences on offenders reflects the gravity of offending and hopefully will act as a future deterrent to others.”

ENDS

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