Social media trap for man caught with child porn

MARTY SHARPE
Last updated 05:00 15/04/2014

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A man who ran school discos was found with child pornography after being caught out by a mother posing as her 12-year-old daughter online.

Daniel Jones, 24, pleaded guilty to 12 charges of possessing objectionable material. In the Napier District Court he was given a lesser sentence than first indicated because most of the images were cartoons.

Police were alerted to him by the mother of a student at a school where Jones had set up lighting for a production.

The mother spotted that Jones had made several attempts to initiate a Facebook conversation with her daughter, whom she had allowed to have an account only for watching videos of rehearsals of the production.

After the production finished, she saw Jones was continuing to ask the girl questions.

"He was a 22-year-old engaged to be married. It seemed very weird.

"So I banned her from Facebook and sent a message to him pretending I was her," she said. When he requested the girl's cellphone number, the woman posted hers.

"He texted to say he was out and began asking what boys I liked. I just acted as innocent as she would have.

"Then he started asking more provocative questions."

This led to him asking if she had ever had sex and ultimately asking if she wanted him to teach her how to have sex.

"I texted: Ew no, I'm only 12 and you've got a girlfriend. He said that was OK.

"By that stage I was feeling pretty ill."

The next morning he texted again, at which point the mother let him know she was not the girl.

"He straight away deleted her from his Facebook accounts, and texted back that he'd been really drunk and couldn't remember saying those things," the woman said. "I said that didn't cut it with me and that I'd get the police involved. And that's what I did."

When police searched Jones' home in Taradale, they found a large number of objectionable video and photo images, including some of children and some of bestiality.

Judge Tony Adeane on Friday said he had given a sentencing indication of 18 months' imprisonment but "failed to appreciate that the great majority of the offensive material involved in this case is in the form of cartoons of children being abused", rather than live children.

He said an electronic sentence would mean Jones, now living in Woodville and working as a truck driver, would lose his job.

Jones was sentenced to 150 hours of community work and 12 months of supervision.

 

CARTOON PORN CASES CAUSE DIFFICULT SENTENCING

 

All but one of the charges against Daniel Jones related to cartoon clips. One related to an image of a girl aged between 10 and 12. Judge Tony Adeane said Jones had received a "thoroughly unfavourable" probation report that recommended imprisonment. "It is apparently the case that he has been previously warned about the possession of this sort of material," he said, and the fact he ran discos for young people sounded "a warning bell".

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However, the judge said there was no sentencing authority for the treatment of objectionable cartoons, which made it difficult for him to impose a tough sentence. The rationale for courts' "stern responses" to dealing with child pornography stemmed from the fact that children were harmed.

- The Dominion Post

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