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Sentence trivialises sex violence against children

stop demand

A call for action to stop sexual violence against children.

Media Release 2 May 2005

Sentence handed down to lawyer trivialises sexual predation of children

The paltry fine imposed on a lawyer convicted of importing objectionable material trivialises the sexual exploitation of children and young people, says an organization working to combat the trade.

Wayne McKeague, a Queenstown lawyer and councillor, was today fined $2,700 for importing sexual images of girls aged 12-14 years, as part of the nationwide Operation Tercel swoop. The conviction attracted a maximum six-month prison sentence.

Anti-child pornography campaigner, and barrister, Denise Ritchie of Stop Demand Foundation said “Wayne McKeague might present to some as holding a ‘respectable’ position in society but his conviction for trading in such images exposes him as a sexual predator and sexual exploiter of young girls for whom the New Zealand Courts are bound by domestic and international law to protect. Whatever his weak excuses, McKeague has a sexual interest in underage girls. These images exist for one reason only - the sexual arousal and sexual gratification of the viewer. The paltry fine handed down by the Court shows an utter disregard for child victims of sexual exploitation, it minimises the seriousness of the sexual degradation of the victims and reflects little understanding of the enormous harm to the dignity and well-being of the child victims used to create these images. Girls aged 12-14 years are children and have as much right to be protected from sexual exploitation as younger children.”

“If we are to make any inroads into stopping this modern-day sexual abuse of children here and overseas, we must work to stop the demand for such images. Imposing manifestly inadequate sentences that reflect neither the gravity of offending nor provide future deterrent to offenders or others in the community is a very disappointing signal from our Courts,” says Ritchie.

Earlier this year the Government substantially toughened laws and penalties for offenders of child sex abuse images, recognising that such offences were sexual crimes against children.


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