INDEPENDENT NEWS

Hamilton Man Escapes Full Impact of Amended Law

Published: Fri 14 Oct 2005 04:32 PM
End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography & Trafficking in Children
Media Release Friday 14 October 2005
Hamilton Man Escapes Full Impact of Amended Law
Today David Malcolm Walker was sentenced in the Hamilton District Court to three-and-a-half years prison for possessing and distributing images of children being sexually abused.
Alan Bell, Director of ECPAT says “Given that this offender was sentenced under the amended censorship law that provides for stern sentences - and that the offender was found to have thousands of images of children aged from three months to thirteen years being sexually abused this sentence does not appear to recognize the seriousness of the offence. Walker is the first person to be sentenced under the law that was amended in February this year to provide for sentences of up to five years for possession and up to ten years for distributing the se images. Walker was guilty of both but was only sentenced to three-and-a-half years in total. This does not send the right message to those who may be tempted to offend in this practice of degrading our children.”
Judge Cooper in imposing the sentence described the images as vile and degrading of children and said that but for Walker’s early guilty plea he would have jailed him for five years. Five years is the maximum sentence that can be imposed under the Summary Proceedings Act if the defendant pleads guilty at a preliminary hearing before a trial is started.
“To allow an offender to escape the full weight of the law just because he pleads guilty once he has already been tracked by the vigilant Department of Internal Affairs is a let off. By the time the offender is apprehended the Department has all the evidence they need to convict him anyway so the guilty plea can just be a smart way of avoiding a sterner sentence. The increased penalties for offending against our children have been a long time coming and it is to be hoped that the sentences will start reflecting the serious of what these offenders are doing and that the courts will use the law to full effect.”
ECPAT NZ is part of a global network committed to end sexual exploitation of children.
ENDS

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