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Cell phone evidence a first

Cell phone evidence a first

Evidence gathered solely from a cell phone has been used for the first time to convict a Hastings man for possessing child sexual abuse pictures.

Michael Lawrence Worsnop, a 29-year-old orchard worker pleaded guilty to three charges of possession and one of making a copy of an objectionable publication. He was sentenced to 17 months in jail by Judge Bridget Mackintosh at the Napier District Court today (Friday).

Internal Affairs was tipped off by a web sites administrator that in July 2012 Worsnop had placed an advertisement on a dating website seeking young girls for sexual contact. The ad contained two images of young underage girls, partially naked in sexualised poses.

Community Safety Manager, Steve O’Brien said Worsnop’s erratic employment and regularly switching of accommodation made him difficult to contact but inspectors eventually found him living in a caravan in an orchard on the Meeanee-Awatoto Road, Hawke’s Bay. His mobile phone contained 154 pictures of underage children, some of them objectionable images of girls in explicit sexual acts and poses.

Mr O’Brien said phone records were particularly useful in this case.

“It helps us enormously when telephone companies help us track online offenders,” he said. “Holding these people to account is a team effort often involving local or international agencies. And we have the expertise to gather the evidence, despite best efforts to conceal offending, and bring offenders before the court.”

Worsnop will face special conditions for six months on release from prison which include a ban on any consumption of alcohol or drugs and restrictions on his access to the internet.

Ends

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