News from NZ Customs Service
A 40-year old New Zealander appeared in the Manukau District Court today, after he was arrested by Customs officers at Auckland Airport earlier this week for importing images of child sexual abuse.
The man, who lived in Australia, arrived in Auckland on 13 January and was found to be carrying objectionable material including images and video footage of child sexual abuse.
“On his arrival, Customs officers searched the man’s luggage and discovered media containing child sexual abuse images including video footage. The man was arrested after further questioning,” said Customs Manager Investigations Shane Panettiere.
“Protecting New Zealand communities is a key part of Customs’ work and concentrating efforts against this type of offending is high on our list,” Mr Panettiere said.
“We continue to work closely with New Zealand Police, Internal Affairs and international agencies to identify child victims of sexual exploitation and prosecute individuals involved in importing, exporting, possessing and trading such material.”
The Customs and Excise Act 1996 prohibits the importation of objectionable material. The maximum penalty under the Act is five years’ imprisonment, or a fine not exceeding $5000.
The man is remanded without plea and will reappear in court on 1 February.
• The media is urged to use the terminology ‘child sexual abuse images’ or ‘child objectionable material’, and not ‘child pornography’. We would appreciate this as the use of the phrase ‘child pornography’ downplays child sex abuse:
o It indicates legitimacy and compliance on the victim’s part and therefore suggests legality on the abuser’s part
o It conjures up images of children posing in ‘provocative’ positions, rather than the image capturing the suffering of horrific abuse
o Every publication of these images promotes the sexual exploitation of children and young people and often portrays actual child abuse occurring at the time. This is not pornography.
Purpose of prohibition:
• Objectionable material is prohibited in New Zealand under the Customs and Excise Act 1996 and the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993.
• Objectionable material or publication includes, but is not limited to, films, videos, computer games, DVDs, CD-ROMs, books, posters, music recordings, magazines, photographs, paintings, t-shirts and computer files.
• Material or a publication is classified as objectionable if it describes, depicts, expresses or deals with matters such as sex, horror, crime, cruelty or violence in such a manner that the availability of the publication is likely to be injurious to the public good.
• Under s 209(1)(A) & (5) Customs & Excise Act 1996, individuals found to have been knowingly concerned in the importation or exportation of objectionable material can face up to five years’ imprisonment. There are similar and more stringent penalties under the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 for additional relevant offending of this type.