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Hamilton man jailed for online sexual child exploitation

03.01pm 10 November 2021 | News

A 58-year-old man was today sentenced in the Hamilton District Court to seven years and three months’ imprisonment for sharing child sexual exploitation material online. He was also registered on the Child Sex Offender Register.

The man, a Company Director from Huntington, was convicted with importing, possessing, exporting and distributing child sexual exploitation material, along with refusing to allow Customs Officers access to search his devices.

In November 2020, the defendant uploaded child sexual exploitation material to his social media accounts in order to share the material with other users. He was also detected distributing child sexual exploitation material in January 2021, and was subsequently reported to law enforcement authorities by the social media platform he was using.

Customs investigated these reports and found the defendant to be a man living in Huntington. In February 2021, Customs executed a search warrant at the defendant's address, during which he was arrested by investigators from Customs’ Child Exploitation Operations Team (CEOT).

The man refused to provide Customs with the password to access his cell phone. This cell phone and a number of other electronic devices were seized, and subsequent forensic examination uncovered 12,242 objectionable publications, including a collection of some of the worst child sexual abuse material known to law enforcement agencies globally.

Simon Peterson, Chief Customs Officer - Child Exploitation Operations Team, says this man procured, possessed and shared images and videos of unimaginable distress, including extreme violence, torture and cruelty towards children.

“We have an unwavering commitment to identifying and stopping sexual abusers of children, working closely with our partners in the Police and Internal Affairs, as well as overseas agencies, to identify and hold to account those who exploit children in this heinous way.”

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 imports and exports under the Customs and Excise Act 2018. The maximum penalty for the importation or exportation of objectionable publications is 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.