Lecturer collected boy nudes

Last updated 11:11 23/01/2013

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A former university lecturer who possessed thousands of images of naked young boys claimed he didn’t realise his X-rated collection was illegal.

Neville Keith Honey, 61, of Palmerston North, was fined $5000 and sentenced to 15 months’ intensive supervision after admitting 25 charges of possessing objectionable material.

Until late last year Honey was a respected lecturer at Massey University, where he worked for 29 years.

But his time there has ended after a police search of Honey’s house, in September 2011, found a cache of DVDs and CDs filled with images and films of young boys.

In the Palmerston North District Court yesterday, Judge Jennifer Binns said police found 90 CDs and DVDs in a locked chest and another 40 in a writing desk.

‘‘The material was predominantly of young naked boys.’’

One sample of 77 discs contained 324 movies. On another seven discs were 10,043 images.

Honey exercised his right to silence during the search. He later said he was not aware he was breaking the law.

‘‘You said if you realised the images were illegal, you would not have viewed or saved them,’’ the judge told him.

Honey was now undertaking counselling.

At Massey, he was held in high regard among staff, Judge Binns said.

‘‘You were popular and well-liked. In 2010 you received an excellence in teaching award.’’

Defence lawyer Peter Coles said Honey’s offending was the least serious of its type and none of the images were of boys engaged in sexual activity. 

Honey’s offending was ‘‘clearly not a matter for a prison sentence’’and he had taken steps to minimise the embarrassment for others.

Coles did not make an application to suppress Honey’s name, saying he had no grounds to do so.

Initially, Honey was granted temporary suppression by the court ‘‘in the interests of students’’ before marking last year’s final exams.

‘‘That was not sustainable beyond the end of the academic year,’’ Coles said.

During the term of his sentence, Honey is not allowed to access the internet or any internet-capable devices without permission from his probation officer.

Speaking away from court, Massey University spokesman James Gardiner said the university learned of Honey’s offending last year.

‘‘Mr Honey then tendered his resignation and we’re not aware of any suggestion that any of the offending occurred within the Massey environment.

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‘‘Obviously, we’d be very concerned if that were to be the case.’’

- Manawatu Standard

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