Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Attack on online child sexual abuse network saves children

30 January 2014

Attack on online child sexual abuse network saves children

A New Zealand multi-agency operation targeting an on-line child sexual abuse network has caught six offenders, identified four children who had the potential to be harmed, and rescued a six-year old victim in the United Kingdom.

Customs Manager Border Operations Shane Panettiere says online child sexual abuse is a serious borderless crime, against which agencies join forces to actively share information and conduct investigations to protect children and target offenders.

“With greater global connectivity, offenders think they can operate anonymously accessing and exchanging child sexual abuse material, but they will not go undetected.”

Operation Hyper began last June when a referral by Queensland Police (Taskforce Argos) led to a Customs search warrant at a 41 year old man’s central Auckland home. His young child was assessed by government agencies for harm. Information gained as a result of this warrant also identified other offenders in New Zealand and the UK.

Internal Affairs, Police and Customs conducted simultaneous warrants on Auckland’s North Shore and Levin, while UK Police arrested a man in West Yorkshire. As a result of these warrants, another man living in the UK was identified.

In December, UK Police arrested the 62 year old, rescuing his granddaughter from physical sexual abuse, which was also being filmed and distributed. In New Zealand, Customs and Police conducted a further search warrant at a Northland home. This included the assessment of two young children residing at the property.

“The operation required meticulous planning and execution to ensure enforcement activity did not jeopardise potential victim safety or alert suspect offenders who could warn others in their network,” Mr Panettiere says.

Gary Ronald Barnes, age 53, from Levin, who was arrested by the NZ Police, was sentenced to two years and five months’ imprisonment for 25 counts of possessing an objectionable publication and five of distributing objectionable publications last October. He had two previous similar convictions.

The central Auckland man charged by Customs for possession and exportation is due to appear in court for sentencing in March. A 50 year old North Shore man faces similar charges by Internal Affairs, and charges are yet to be laid against the 32 year old Northland man. Both men arrested in the UK are yet to be sentenced.

Detective Senior Sergeant John Michael, head of Police’s Online Child Exploitation Across New Zealand (OCEANZ) unit said Operation Hyper is a great example of both domestic and international co-operation.

“A global taskforce is committed to identifying and protecting children in New Zealand and across the world from online sexual exploitation and sexual offending,” Mr Michael said.

Internal Affairs’ team leader, Censorship Compliance Unit, Jon Peacock agreed adding that it takes a network to defeat a network.

“The agencies involved actively shared information and conducted investigations to target and arrest the offenders when the timing was right,” Mr Peacock said.

Deputy Director of the UK's National Crime Agency CEOP command, Andy Baker, says the internet knows no bounds, so international partnerships and relationships are crucial when tackling child sexual exploitation – whether this is by sharing intelligence or supporting ongoing operations.

Taskforce Argos has had an exceptional working relationship with New Zealand law enforcement for many years.

Task Force Argos Detective Inspector Jon Rouse says “We receive as many investigative leads as we send, and this operation highlights the fact that we are working very effectively across international borders to protect each others children.”

Terminology
Media are urged to use the terminology ‘child sexual abuse images’ or ‘child objectionable material’, and not ‘child pornography’. The use of the phrase ‘child pornography’ actually downplays child sex abuse:
• It indicates legitimacy and compliance on the victim’s part and therefore suggests legality on the abuser’s part.
• It conjures up images of children posing in ‘provocative’ positions, rather than the image capturing the suffering of horrific abuse.
• Every publication of these images promotes the sexual exploitation of children and young people and often portrays actual child abuse occurring at the time. This is not pornography. These are images of criminal acts.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Breaking: Prime Minister John Key Announces Resignation

Prime Minister John Key has announced that he’s resigning as Prime Minister in seven days’ time. He made the unexpected announcement at a 12.45 press conference at Parliament, called with less than an hour’s notice.

“It has been an enormous privilege to be Prime Minister of New Zealand, and these last eight years have been an incredible experience. Throughout these years I have given everything I could to this job that I cherish, and this country that I love.

“Bronagh has made a significant sacrifice during my time in politics, and now is the right time for me to take a step back in my career and spend more time at home.“ More>>

 

Q+A: Labour's Michael Wood Wins Mt Roskill

Labour’s Michael Wood, who last night won a 6,000 vote majority in the Mt Roskill by-election, says the reason for the win was simple, clear messaging... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Anne Tolley’s Callous Folly

Last week’s conflict between Social Development Minister Anne Tolley and District Court judge Carolyn Henwood illustrated quite a few of the flaws in the system. More>>

ALSO:

Members’ Bills: Greens' Domestic Violence And Loans Bills Pulled From Ballot

Jan Logie’s Domestic Violence-Victims' Protection Bill introduces workplace protections for victims of domestic violence, including allowing victims to request paid domestic violence leave for up to 10 days... Gareth Hughes’ Bill allows Kiwis with student loans to defer their student loan repayments into a first home savings scheme. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA: Police Did Not 'Deliberately' Use Pepper Spray On 10-Year-Old

"When spraying the man, the officer did not properly consider the necessity of using pepper spray in a confined space, the likelihood that it would affect the other innocent passengers or the fact that he was using a more powerful spray." More>>

ALSO:

Donor Bill Passes: Full Income Compensation For Live Organ Donors

Unanimous cross-party support for the Compensation for Live Organ Donors Bill represents a critical step in reducing the burgeoning waiting list for kidney donations, according to Kidney Health New Zealand chief executive Max Reid. More>>

ALSO:

Earthquake Response: Emergency Legislation Prepared

Three new Bills have been drafted in the wake of the magnitude 7.8 earthquake on November 14 to ensure the government can enable affected communities to respond quickly and efficiently. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news