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Passenger jailed for carrying child sexual abuse material

08.42am 09 May 2022 | News

A 42-year-old man was today sentenced in the Auckland District Court to two years and five months’ imprisonment for knowingly importing objectionable publications depicting the sexual abuse of children.

He was also registered on the Child Sex Offender Register.

In mid-January 2020, the offender, Graham Duncan Snell, arrived at Auckland International Airport on a flight from Australia after spending a year in the UK on sabbatical. Following a referral from overseas agencies, he was questioned by a Customs officer, and a phone search located a number of objectionable publications.

He was subsequently arrested at the airport on the same day of his offending by Customs investigators for the importation and possession of objectionable publications.

A forensic search of the device identified 285 images and 21 video files of child sexual abuse dating back to 2018, including 50 classified as the most extreme category of abuse. A similar examination of his laptop uncovered various objectionable publications, and links to an online chat forum used by offenders to download, trade, and exchange objectionable child sexual exploitation material.

Simon Peterson, Chief Customs Officer Child Exploitation Operations Team, says unlike most Customs cases which deal with online exploitation, this was unusual in that it involved an individual attempting to cross the border carrying child sexual exploitation materials.

“Customs remains vigilant at our airports for returning passengers who attempt to import child sexual exploitation material and other illegal goods.”

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.