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Customs investigation leads to jail time for Auckland man

12.33pm 29 August 2023 | News

A Customs investigation resulted in a four year ten month jail sentence for a 39-year-old Auckland man, who was found guilty of 16 charges of possessing, importing, exporting, distributing and making objectionable materials.

The defendant appeared at Auckland District Court on Monday 28 August.

Overseas law enforcement contacts alerted Customs to a New Zealander’s illegal online activity which involved sharing child sexual exploitation images and videos on overseas-based Cloud and social media platforms.

Customs investigators identified the suspect and conducted a search warrant at the man's central Auckland address. Onsite forensic screening confirmed the man's email addresses were being used to share child sexual abuse materials online. He also had a recording of the Christchurch Mosque Attack livestream.

Simon Peterson, Chief Customs Officer - Child Exploitation Operations Team, said this was very serious offending.

“Customs investigators found this man had images and videos of child sexual abuse on his devices, with most of them classified as the most extreme category. Sharing this type of material fuels the abuse of children across the world, so it’s critical that we identify and catch others like him.”

Online child sexual abuse causes devastating harm to the victims and survivors.

“It’s a growing problem both in Aotearoa and globally. But as the offenders become more sophisticated, so do we. Customs is committed to working alongside local and international law enforcement agencies to combat the exploitation of children, no matter where they are in the world,” Mr Peterson said.

Any publication that promotes or supports the exploitation of children for sexual purposes is deemed an objectionable publication under the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993.

Objectionable publications are also prohibited from import or export under the Customs and Excise Act 2018. These charges carry a maximum penalty of ten years’ imprisonment.

If you have concerns or suspicions about someone who may be trading in or producing child sexual abuse images or videos, contact Customs confidentially on 0800 WE PROTECT (0800 937 768) or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. If you are, or know of, someone who is at risk or being abused, contact the Police immediately.