|Wayne Sowerby, Stratford, stands in the dock at Hawera District Court during his sentencing on Wednesday.|
A Stratford, New Zealand man who had 178 disks containing graphic child sexual abuse images showed no remorse or understanding of the impact of his actions on the victims in the material.
Wayne Kerry Sowerby, 45, was jailed for 18 months when he appeared for sentence in the Hawera District Court on Wednesday on 15 charges of possessing objectionable material.
Police prosecutor Steve Hickey said when police found the material on CDs at Sowerby's home, he told the police he had owned the disks for 10 years and said it had not been illegal when he got them. He asserted that he was not hurting anyone by owning the material. The charges were laid on November 3, 2015.
Hickey read a statement detailing some of the effects of child sex abuse images on victims.
"Every photograph of a child put before the Court that the defendant had in his possession depicts an actual child being sexually abused, assaulted, degraded, exploited or tortured. This abuse can cause not only serious emotional harm but also physical harm and in some cases deformity to the child," he said.
|Mt Taranaki, just west of Stratford, NZ|
"The defendant has, by possessing imagery of child sexual abuse, directly contributed to the further victimisation of these child victims and fuelled an international demand for such imagery."
Appearing for Sowerby on behalf of his counsel, Rajan Rai, Alice Leonard urged the judge to consider home detention as a possibility for the defendant. A suitable house had been located and his family was willing to assist with rent payments if it were approved, she said.
The offences had only involved possession of the material, not creating or distributing it.
She said Sowerby suffered from depression, diabetes and epilepsy, and was a beneficiary. His mother was in court to support him.
I suspect, 'a beneficiary' means he was on a government disability pension or something similar.
"Isn't the difficulty for you and Mr Sowerby that his remarks to the probation officer indicate a total lack of insight and the real impact of this behaviour," said Judge Garry Barkle.
"There is nothing before me that suggests any remorse from you about your offending and indeed little insight about the impact of your offending," he told Sowerby.
The 15 charges were taken as representative examples from the 178 disks. The children in the material were aged as young as four and there was also material involving a horse.
"All are of depraved sexual acts which are exploitative of very young children," Judge Barkle said.
Sowerby's deviancy fuelled the demand for the people who produced such material, he said.
"If there were not people like yourself to provide a market for them, then Mr Sowerby, young children wouldn't be put in these sad situations where they are being exploited in this way."
In considering a sentence, the Judge referred to other cases cited by the prosecution and the defence. He took into account that in April 2104 the Government had doubled the penalties for this type of offence and the classification system for such material had changed. Under the revised UK system, all of the material in Sowerby's possession was ranked at the highest level.