Concerns over suppression in child sex tour case

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.” [Read more...]

BSA Criticised by Family First NZ For Refusing Name Suppression on Complaint

In a media release issued today, Family First NZ, a registered charity with the Charities Commission, has criticised the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) for refusing name suppression sought by a complainant.

It says that potential complainants may not speak up and complain about breaches of broadcasting standards as a result of the BSA refusing to grant name suppression to complainants.

“It takes a lot of courage for complainants to speak up about broadcasting breaches and it serves no purpose for their names to be broadcast or printed in the media. Families will be less inclined to speak up if they know they will have their name splashed across the media, and especially where they are complaining about what they consider a moral issue which they feel strongly about,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. [Read more...]

Registered charity challenges Court of Appeal’s child porn ruling

Stop Demand Foundation, a registered charity (CC 30599) with the Charities Commission, has attacked a Court of Appeal decision granting name suppression to a 50-year old Manawatu man found guilty of possessing images of child rape. The charity’s founder, Denise Ritchie, who was interviewed on TV One’s Breakfast programme about the matter this morning, says the Court’s decision is a blow to child rape victims in New Zealand and to lobby groups like hers around the world fighting sexual violence against children.

The Manawatu man, who admitted 21 charges of possessing objectionable material, was sentenced to six months home detention and fined $5250 at the end of last year.

In a decision only made public yesterday, the Court of Appeal ruled that his name should be kept completely secret to protect his family members.

Ms Ritchie, who has read and studied the decision, pointed out on TV One’s Breakfast programme that the convicted man has not lived with or had close association with any of the “family members” whose reputations and privacy the Court of Appeal Judges have sought to protect. She argues that granting name suppression to the offender merely to protect the reputation of these people sets a dangerous precedent. [Read more...]

Censors and Banned Porn Imports

Media Report 7 June

The Society’s investigations have determined that over a two year period before a 49-year old prominent Wellington town planner, appeared on 22 March 2007 before Wellington District Court Judge Stephen Harrop to face charges over the importation of 11 “objectionable” publications; he had embarked on a hugely expensive exercise, aided by his lawyer, Mr Greg King, to use the Film and Literature Board of Review and the Chief Censor’s Office to help him overturn the charges.  Robert John Schofield attempted unsuccessfully to have the classification of the publications downgraded from “objectionable” to “age restricted” (R18) so he could avoid conviction. The Society has applied under the Official Information Act to the Board Secretary and the Chief Censor’s Office to obtain copies of all the classification decisions issued with respect to these publications.

[Read more...]