Do you think the name of the prominent Manawatu man convicted of downloading child pornography should be published?
The identity of a prominent Manawatu man who downloaded thousands of pornographic images of children has been publicly outed by an internet blogger.
Auckland-based Cameron Slater posted the name of the man on his website.
The man's name also appeared on the website of an anti-suppression lobby group, which Mr Slater organises.
Mr Slater told the Manawatu Standard he contacted people in the region to find out the man's identity after the paper's story on Saturday.
The man was granted permanent name suppression in the Palmerston North District Court last week to protect his family, his mental health, his wife's job and his ability to rehabilitate.
The man had attempted to take his own life and publicity could escalate suicidal tendencies, the court heard on Friday.
He was sentenced to four months' home detention on 25 counts of downloading objectionable material and one count of distributing pornographic images.
The charges carry a maximum sentence of five and 10 years' imprisonment, respectively.
Between 2007 and 2009, the man, who reached the pinnacle of his career last year after several years of additional study, downloaded the pornographic images on his personal computer and hard drive, the court heard.
A file on the hard drive, titled "young/pics", contained 16,000 images of underage girls in explicit sexual poses.
Another file on his computer had 280,000 images, of which a considerable number were deemed objectionable.
On one occasion the man distributed nine images to a website.
An FBI investigation led to his arrest in September last year and he was granted interim name suppression leading up to sentencing.
Denise Ritchie, founder of child advocacy group Stop Demand, said naming people found guilty of downloading illegal pornographic images would act as a deterrent.
"Naming offenders removes the shroud of secrecy under which they lurk, and increases their future accountability. I think part of rehab is putting your hand up and admitting your crime."
Granting the man anonymity was not justified when his victims had to live the rest of their lives knowing naked pictures exploiting them were availableon the internet, Ms Ritchie said.
She also said parents and caregivers ought to know who the prominent Manawatu man was.
"The fact that the court places more weight on the personal circumstances of prominent offenders, than on the serious issue of child sexual exploitation and its long-term impact on victims, is disturbing," Ms Ritchie said
Media commentator Jim Tully said people outside mainstream media who breached name suppression orders were either "ignorant" or "flouting" the law.
"The publicity around [Cameron Slater's blog] has made it very, very difficult for anyone to say they're not aware of name suppression."
Mr Slater was due to appear in the Auckland District Court today on five charges of breaching other suppression orders.
HAVE YOUR SAY
What do you think about this? Write to the editor at PO Box 3, Palmerston North, email firstname.lastname@example.org (include name and address) or send a text to 027 498 1242.
- The Manawatu Standard
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