Sex-text charges dropped

ANNE CLARKSON
Last updated 13:34 14/03/2014

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All charges have been dropped against a 36-year-old Taihape man who exchanged sex-texts with girls aged 11 to 13 years.

The prosecution of Ricky Dean Walker became a legal tangle that has continued for more than a year in the Christchurch District Court and has involved the Film and Literature Board of Review.

It came to an end in a pre-trial session before Judge Jane Farish today.

The Crown said the Board of Review had found the texts were not objectionable, and Judge Farish dismissed the charges.

Walker was originally charged with doing indecent acts by exhanging texts with the girls, who were friends at the same school.

He told police he thought the girls were 18 year olds by the way they were talking.

He initially admitted the indecent act charges but Judge Michael Crosbie intervened at his sentencing to say that sex-texting could not contain the ingredients of the charges under the Crimes Act.

There was no physical proximity between the offender and the victim. There was no contact, no threats, no invitation, and no sexual grooming which might involve arranging the meet the girls.

"At best, it seems to be a Telecommunications Act offence," said the judge.

That led to the Crown and defence counsel Craig Ruane discussing what would be appropriate charges.

Walker was then charged with five charges of "knowingly distributing an objectionable publication".

The case was sent to the Film and Literature Board of Review which ruled that although the texts "deal with matters of a sexual nature, it cannot be said that they do so in a manner that is likely to be injurious to the public good".

It ruled, "with the greatest reluctance", that the constraints within the legislation meant it could not classify the texts as objectionable.

There was no evidence before the board about who the publications had been intended for, or their purpose.

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