Courts sending right message, Government is not
A call for action to
stop sexual violence
Media Release 01 February 2005
Courts sending right message, Government is not - on child sex abuse images
The jail sentence handed down today to a Nelson man, Jason Gorman, for distributing child sex abuse images was welcomed by those working to combat the trade.
The 34-year-old yard coordinator appeared for sentencing today at the Nelson District Court, having been earlier convicted on 17 counts of distributing objectionable material and 36 counts of possessing such material.
The charges were laid after the Department of Internal Affairs’ Censorship Compliance Unit found some 30,000 encrypted files on the offender’s computer. The Department proved that at least 5,000 of these were of children being sexually abused and sexually posed.
Gorman was sentenced to 17 one-year prison sentences on the distribution charges, to be served concurrently, and convicted and discharged on the 36 possession charges. The Court also ordered the forfeiture of Gorman’s computer systems and destruction of the objectionable material. Gorman’s application for leave to apply for home detention was declined.
Denise Ritchie of Stop Demand Foundation said “The Courts recognise that these offenders participate in behaviour that contributes directly to sexual crimes against many, many child victims. Imposing terms of imprisonment as both a penalty and deterrent to others, and refusing leave to apply for home detention must be New Zealand’s response if we are to join global efforts to combat the trade. We must crack down heavily on those who create the demand for such material, if our hope is to reduce the supply of child victims.”
Stop Demand Foundation remains critical however of the current limitations available to Judges upon sentencing. “Child victims continue to be let down by our Government’s tardy response to increase outdated penalties and bring them into line with other jurisdictions. A Bill currently before Parliament continues to be put on the ‘back burner’ despite parliamentary discussions which have dragged on for close to five years,” says Denise Ritchie.
If passed, the revised laws would see a ten-fold increase in penalties for trading offences (from a maximum one year to 10 years imprisonment) and up to two years prison sentence for possession offences which currently attract a mere fine.