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Webmaster conviction upheld

Webmaster conviction upheld

A High Court decision has further strengthened New Zealand’s censorship law, helping it meet the challenges of the Internet, Internal Affairs Department Censorship Compliance Manager, Steve O’Brien, said today.

Justice Chris Allan in the High Court in Auckland dismissed appeals by an Auckland webmaster Philip Carlton Batty against conviction and sentence for possessing and distributing videos and pictures of children being sexually abused, women being raped and bestiality. Judge Thomas Everitt heard the case in the Auckland District Court in July.

Batty contended that the Judge had no jurisdiction to deal with the charges because the website he administered from Auckland was based in the United States and no relevant ‘actus reus’ or guilty act occurred in New Zealand.

But Justice Allan said it was irrelevant that the appellant may have believed his primary market was not in New Zealand and that the Internet server was in the USA.

“While in New Zealand, the appellant undertook certain steps to display or make available the images on his website,” Justice Allan said.

Steve O’Brien said a DIA inspector accessed the images when he browsed Batty’s website from Wellington.

“In backing Judge Everitt’s decision, Justice Allan sends a clear warning to offenders that they can’t hide behind spurious arguments about cyberspace and the Internet,” Steve O’Brien said.

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