Guilty plea for toon porn

DAVID CLARKSON
Last updated 16:03 28/09/2011

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A judge has refused to consider a discharge without conviction until a 22-year-old student addresses "issues" that led him to import cartoon sexual-abuse pornography.

Xiran Zhang had 10 DVDs in his baggage when he flew into Auckland International Airport from Shanghai.

He is in the first year of an engineering degree at Canterbury University.

He pleaded guilty to five charges of importing prohibited goods and was scheduled to be sentenced in a Christchurch District Court session at the Rangiora Courthouse today.

The cartoon films, known as "anime", depicted scenes of rape, abuse, and bestiality.

Defence counsel Simon Clay argued for a discharge without conviction under section 106 of the Criminal Justice Act, but Judge Raoul Neave said he was concerned about issues that were raised in Zhang's pre-sentence report. He did not say what the issues were.

He agreed to give Zhang time to address these concerns before the sentencing went ahead, so the judge could then consider whether to grant the discharge.

He said the nature of the material was "extremely disturbing", but the fact that it was cartoons put it in a different category from other pornography that involved real victims.

Prosecutor Tim Mackenzie said the Crown saw supervision as the appropriate sentence for this offending.

Judge Neave said he would not go ahead with a sentencing until there was evidence that Zhang had a commitment to address the issues raised in the report.

This would also give time for Immigration New Zealand's views on Zhang's status to be clarified. He is at present on a student visa, which has been suspended in the meantime.

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