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Strong message in jailing

Strong message in jailing


The stiffest sentence yet for a collector and distributor of child sex abuse pictures must serve as a lesson for all such offenders, Internal Affairs Deputy Secretary, Keith Manch, said today.

Computer technician, Stephen John Laing, 25, of Massey, appearing in the Waitakere District Court was jailed for five years today following his fourth conviction for possessing and distributing objectionable publications. The previous heaviest sentence is three and a half years prison, imposed on a Waikato man in October 2005 after Parliament passed new stiffer penalties in February 2005.

Judge Philip Recordon said Laing was a serious and persistent offender over a lengthy time who encouraged others to commit offences against children. The judge's starting point for sentencing was seven and a half years but he gave Laing credit for his early guilty pleas.

The Department told the court that Laing's offending was the most serious of its kind so far in New Zealand, primarily because of its recidivist and brazen nature.

"On four separate occasions over several years our censorship inspectors have caught Laing trading in pictures of children being sexually abused. Previous sentences, including attempts at rehabilitation, had clearly failed. Laing's continued offending indicated significant depravity with pictures of children as young as six weeks through to 12 years

"We were particularly concerned that Laing promoted and solicited objectionable material, seeking personalised messages on photos of young victims. By encouraging the sexual abuse of vulnerable children he was, by his involvement on line, a party to these crimes.

"The Department has a dedicated team of inspectors monitoring the internet for such offenders. We also exchange intelligence with international agencies in the worldwide fight against this despicable trade. So people like Laing must realise that they will be caught, because no matter what they do everything is traceable on the computer. "

ENDS

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