On 6 February 2010 we reported on the ridiculous decision to suppress the name of a ‘prominent’ man convicted in Palmerston North Court of downloading more than 300,000 indecent images, many of them of children. Read it here.
The man, who lives in the Manawatu and who was caught in an international FBI investigation, was found to have both downloaded and distributed indecent images. But in addition to suppressing his name the judge also dealt the offender a slap on the wrist with a sentence of 4 months home detention.
Crown prosecutor Ben Vanderkolk said granting name suppression could be seen as protecting a person in a privileged position. He also disputed the need to protect the man’s children as they were well informed about the offending. If he feels so strongly why does he do us all a favour and appeal the court’s decision? One has to wonder just what the offender’s profession was.
Now a child advocacy group Stop Demand has stepped in to condemn the suppression:
“Today Stop Demand’s founder, Denise Ritchie, said the man’s sexual interest in young girls and his prolific appetite for more and more images contributed directly to market forces of demand and supply, leading to more children being violated and degraded.
“Yet Judge Fraser’s decision suggests that if you participate in and fuel the global sexual exploitation of children but you are a prominent member of the New Zealand community, the courts will protect your interests.
“This is a disappointing and unacceptable message from our courts,” she said.
Naming offenders removed the shroud of secrecy under which they lurked, and increased their future accountability, Ms Ritchie said. It acted as a deterrent to others.
“The public, particularly caregivers and children, are entitled to know who these offenders are.
“The fact that the court places more weight on the personal circumstances of ‘prominent’ offenders, than on the serious issue of child sexual exploitation and its long-term impact on victims, is disturbing,” she said.
Ms Ritchie described the sentence and anonymity as an insult to the man’s victims, “all of whom will live the rest of their lives without anonymity, fully identifiable to sexually aroused predators”.
“If we are to make significant inroads into stopping this modern-day sexual abuse of children here and overseas, we must crack down heavily on those who fuel demand for such material,” she said.”
New Zealand is fast becoming a safe haven for any sexual offender who is even remotely in the public eye. Not only will they have their name suppressed but they can also pretty much get off with little or no punishment if they whine loudly enough.
Take the case of the “NZ muso” who assaulted a young girl pleaded guilty and got nothing more than a slapped wrist in case it damaged his career in some way in the future. Even though most of New Zealand now knows the man’s identity the name suppression order still stands. The law as it stands is an ass.
If any good will come out of this latest case it is will be this: It will add weight to the position of bloggers like Cameron Slater, whose site has now become the place to visit whenever a slime-ball manages to slip one past the justice system. It is climbing up the ratings to be one of the most popular sites with New Zealanders. Isn’t it ironic that that same system that is trying to lock him up also allows a paedophile with 300,000 pictures on his PC gets to sleep soundly at night in his own home.
Stop Demand say:
- several million children are enslaved in the child sex trade each year (Source: ECPAT, UNICEF, UNESCAP)
- children in various tourist destinations are being violated by sex tourists (refer article)
- trafficking of children and young women into the global sex trade is the third largest international criminal activity (Source: Interpol) and is a multi-billion dollar industry
- traffickers, pimps, procurers, brothel owners and other intermediaries make vast profits from the child sex trade
- ever-increasing numbers of children are being exploited to produce Internet child pornographic images (refer article)
- sexual violence and sexual exploitation of children is endemic in
- the home & community
- domestic service
- refugee camps and armed conflict
- cultural practices (such as child brides, devadasi/temple girls, trokosi/fetish slaves)
- cultural beliefs (such as sex with a virgin cures HIV/AIDS, brings good fortune or restores virility)
For information on the scale of sex crimes in New Zealand please see our NZ Facts of Life page.
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