A 24-year-old man who pleaded guilty to a range of offences, involving child sex abuse images, has been sentenced to two years intensive supervision and ordered to attend a STOP programme for sexual offenders.
Vincenso Tyrone Wiremu, a truck driver from Rolleston, faced 41 charges of making, distributing and possessing objectionable images, videos and texts depicting the sexual exploitation of children as young as toddlers.
An Internal Affairs investigation led to the arrest of Wiremu after he uploaded 20 objectionable videos to an international file storage site in February-March 2015.
Internal Affairs Prosecutor, Marty Robinson recommended a 5-1/2 year imprisonment sentence. However, Judge Jane Farish instead imposed a supervision order after recommendations from a clinical psychologist and the probation service that prison was inappropriate due to Wiremu’s Asperger’s diagnosis and vulnerability.
The judge also ordered that he be prevented from having unaccompanied access to children under 16 or use internet-capable devices for any reason.
In its investigation, the Department of Internal Affairs found Wiremu had distributed non-sexual images of young children – taken mostly from social media sites. It also found he had used a European-based website to store and share 1162 objectionable images and videos with 104 different people.
Internal Affairs’ Censorship Compliance Manager, Stephen Waugh, said: “Child sexual abuse images posted on the Internet, whether created from physical abuse or, taken and sexualised, live on forever. They haunt the children depicted, who live daily with the knowledge that countless strangers use an image of their worst experiences for their own gratification.
Trading or viewing these images is not passive offending because it condones the abuse children suffer."
The case has also prompted a warning to parents to be aware and vigilant of posting children’s images online.
Waugh says, “It was also concerning that ‘innocent’ images of children had been taken from social media and used in a sexual way.
People should be aware that once you post an image on the Internet you lose control over what happens to it.”