Man jailed for amassing child porn

A man who had amassed thousands of child pornography images and recordings was arrested after police tracked his digital footprint following a tip off from an international child monitoring agency.

Rudolf Wilhelmus de Jonge knew he was going to jail as he stood in the dock for sentencing on a raft of child pornography charges yesterday.

Small in stature and conservatively dressed the 57-year-old stared straight ahead throughout proceedings in the Ashburton District Court.

He was sentenced to three years behind bars.

A digital footprint led police to de Jonge's Hampstead home, following a tip-off from an international monitoring agency.

He had 7777 objectionable images and 305 recordings of children between three and 12 years old in his possession. Police also discovered a peer-to-peer file sharing program on one of de Jonge's computers to access and distribute objectionable materials.

Several files were uploaded awaiting collection.

The evidence resulted in 26 charges of possessing objectionable material and five of distributing objectionable material.

De Jonge had never appeared before a judge prior to the charges being laid in September.

Defence counsel John Black said his client admitted possessing child pornography, a habit prompted by curiosity two years earlier.

He claimed to have stopped two months prior to his arrest.

Mr Black said de Jonge had gained insight into his offending while in prison on remand, and earlier, when questioned by police, he had expressed "abhorrence" toward child violence and child rape.

Later in proceedings Judge Somerville pointed out, by law, a child can never give consent for sexual activity.

De Jonge also abhorred bestiality images, and was willing to participate in counselling and programmes to address his offending, Mr Black said.

With reference to distributing charges, Mr Black countered prosecution accusations that de Jonge's offending was widespread and had a commercial element, saying he had never benefited financially.

He said de Jonge had removed images from the website, saving them on storage devices due to concerns about distributing it; however he had been obliged to leave a certain number of files for collection in the sharing program to access new material himself.

This explained why only 38 of the 600-odd requests for access were accepted in the days before de Jonge's arrest, Mr Black said.

However, Judge Somerville didn't buy the argument, saying the number of people who are distributing objectionable material was "seriously aggravating".

He said the sentence must denounce the trade.

With a starting point of four to five years, Judge Somerville discounted 18 months for de Jonge's early guilty pleas and previous good record, before he was led away to begin a three year sentence.

- Ashburton Guardian

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