Man avoids jail for child abuse images
A Hamilton man busted with more than 1000 child sex abuse and bestiality images and movies says he was addicted to them after getting depressed and losing his sex drive.
A veteran police officer described the images - that feature children as aged as young as two - as some of the worst he's seen in his 37-year career.
Craig Owen John Wyber, 35, avoided a jail term after admitting 20 representative charges of possessing objectionable material and three charges of distributing objectionable material after being sentenced in the Hamilton District Court on Thursday. The charges carry a maximum jail sentences of five and 10 years' respectively.
Judge Denise Clark said although the charges most commonly resulted in prison sentences, she was swayed by submissions from Wyber's counsel Phil Morgan QC.
Morgan said his client had been getting treatment after voluntarily admitting himself to the Safe Network, an organisation that treats people with problematic sexual behaviours.
"The community interest here is having someone like the defendant stopped ... treated for what really is sexually deviant behaviour," Morgan said. "He obviously has a good prognosis for the future. It would be a terrible shame if the good work that has been carried out by Safe thus far is put at risk by taking him off to prison and spending months there being a lonely man suffering from depression and then released into the community when we have this opportunity."
Morgan, who labelled the images "revolting", said Wyber had also been offered a suitable home detention address by his dairy farmer employer in Ohaupo. The court heard police came across Wyber after they were carrying out "covert inquiries in a peer to peer file sharing network".
That allowed undercover police to access Wyber's files that were stored on his laptop computer that depicted sexual abuse of children. Police learned Wyber had been sharing the files for about a year prior to searching his home in November last year.
Analysis by the electronic crime laboratory uncovered 500 images and 650 videos deemed objectionable.
"The material seized depicted children engaged in penetrative sexual activity with adults and other children."
Two of the files depicted bestiality involving a horse and dog.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Bill Cronin said the images were some of the worst he had seen in his career, while other officers who had to investigate were also left shocked by them.
"It has been rather difficult for myself and the investigating officer who had to view all the videos ... it had some effect on people."
Cronin submitted that a jail term was in proportion with other similar offending.
In sentencing Wyber to 11 months' home detention and 150 hours' community work, Judge Clark said a specialist's report that found Wyber had since had "quite a big shift" in his thinking, combined with his self referral for help were the "factors which renders a home detention sentence appropriate".
"Without taking these significant steps since November, I would have considered prison," she said.
She also imposed multiple conditions including, that he not to possess or use an electronic device capable of accessing the internet, not to associate with any person under 16 and not to drink alcohol or use illicit drugs.
Wyber's laptop was also confiscated.