ECPAT, a charity registered with the Charities Commission, says public needs to be aware of jailed man’s identity, even though a Court Judge has granted him name suppression.
Challege Weekly reports …
ECPAT Child ALERT’s national director is concerned over the issues of name suppression for a child sex tour organiser, who was sentenced to three years imprisonment by the High Court last week.
Alan Bell also raised concerns over the fact that the 47-year old offender was charged in August 2010, over 18 months ago. “It is disturbing that this case took 18 months to bring to conclusion,” Mr Bell told Challenge Weekly. “During this time the accused was free and could hide behind name suppression. Criminal charges where the safety of children is concerned should be dealt with swifly and unless there is a child protection issue, the name should be released so that the public are aware,” he says.
Justice Edwin Wylie passed the sentence at Auckland’s High Court on February 14, stating that he hoped it would send a strong message. The man is the first person in New Zealand to be charged with organising and promoting child sex tours.
Mr Bell said the sentence was reasonable given that it was a difficult one for the judge to arrive at because there was no precedent. “He didn’t have any other cases of this nature to gauge whether this was more serious and less serious. He came out and gave a three-year sentence of a seven-year maximum. We feel thast’s reasonable in this case. There has to be provision for more serious cases that may occur in the future.”
Mr Bell also echoed the message of Justice Wylie by saying: “What we’re hoping is that this sentence will in fact send a strong message and act as a deterrent to anyone else who might be considering getting involved in this sort of activity.”
Legislation passed in 1995, which provided for New Zealand law enforcement to bring a prosecution against someone who sexually exploited children either in this country or in another country was invoked, and in this case, had elements of both.
“He was soliciting for New Zealanders to buy his tourist packsage, which was for New Zealand guys to travel to Asia, in particular Thailand. The psackage included flights and accomodation and access to the children, which is not the kind of thing we want going on,” says Mr Bell.
Article from Challenge Weekly, February 20, 2012, p 3.
Author: Gemma Margerison