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Serious Child Abuse Images Case, Moderate Sentence

End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography & Trafficking in Children

Media Release Tuesday 4 October 2005

Serious Case of Illegal Child Abuse Images Results in Moderate Sentence

Yesterday in the Waitakere Court 23 year old Stephen John Laing was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment and refused application for home detention on being found guilty of possessing and distributing objectionable images of sexual abuse of children.

Laing was sentenced under previous legislation where the maximum penalty for this type of offence was one year. The penalty now is ten years for distribution and five years for possession. Alan Bell, Director of ECPAT says “This case was a very serious one in terms of the nature of the images Laing possessed and distributed. It is to be hoped that once the full effect of the new law is felt that it will indeed prove to be an effective deterrent to those who degrade our children by trading in illegal images of children being sexually abused. The images are described as being at the top end of the scale and yet the offender received a moderate sentence of a year whilst the helpless victims will live with the knowledge that their images are being viewed around the world – and will continue to be viewed.”

The images that Laing had in his possession were of children aged from two months to ten years old. What was a most disturbing issue was the fact that Laing advertised the child abuse images in his possession seeking new images in return for his. Operating under the name of “Baby Rape” this skilled computer technician traded in illegal and objectionable images showing real babies and children being subjected to sexual abuse. In this case the offender used his skills deliberately to cover his tracks.

However as Department of Internal Affairs spokesperson says “ He knew all the tricks. He had worked hard at keeping his offending secret. He had knowledge of how we operate because he has previously been convicted on similar charges. But we still found him and successfully prosecuted him.”

The Department of Internal Affairs worked in conjunction with the FBI in the United States and the Vancouver Police in Canada to gather sufficient evidence to bring the prosecution.

ECPAT NZ is part of a global network committed to end sexual exploitation of children.


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