Child sexual abuse sentence appeal considered

BELINDA FEEK
Last updated 05:00 26/07/2014
Craig Wyber
GUILTY: Hamilton man Craig Wyber leaves the Hamilton District Court in May after admitting more than 20 charges of possessing and distributing objectionable publications.

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Police are considering appealing a decision by a Hamilton judge not to jail a man found with more than 1000 child pornography images and videos.

The step has been backed by child abuse advocates who were outraged that Craig Owen John Wyber was only given 11 months home detention and 150 hours community work by Judge Denise Clark in the Hamilton District Court last week.

Wyber had earlier admitted 20 representative charges of possessing objectionable material and three charges of distributing material which featured children as young as two years old and bestiality.

The charges carry maximum prison sentences of five and 10 years respectively.

In court, police prosecutor Sergeant Bill Cronin labelled the images the worst he had seen in his 37-year policing career.

The judge said although the charges most commonly resulted in prison terms, she was swayed by submissions from Wyber's counsel Phil Morgan QC, including the fact Wyber had sought treatment at the Safe Network not long after his arrest in November last year.

Waikato police acting district prosecutions manager Sergeant Andrea McBeth said Wyber's file was with the police legal team in Wellington being assessed for appeal.

Stop Demand's founder and long-time campaigner on child sex abuse image offending, Denise Ritchie, said the decision not to jail Wyber incensed not only her, but members of the public from whom she had fielded phone calls.

"This manifestly weak sentence deserves utter condemnation when weighed against the horrific life-long impact on Wyber's victims.

"Child sex abuse image crimes are amongst society's most heinous crimes. It is horrific enough for a child to endure rape or sexual violation. But for such crimes to be expressly committed and recorded to meet the demand by men like Wyber for their own sexual arousal and gratification, and distributed to other predators, is an anguish that for many victims can be unbearable."

Ritchie said the impact on the victims only increased as they grew older and became aware of what they had endured.

She said it also flew in the face of the Government's move to denounce the offending as Justice Minister Judith Collins is proposing a new bill - about to have its second reading - increasing the maximum jail terms on both charges.

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- Waikato Times

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