Nelson man’s 20-year collection of child exploitation material contained ‘worst content from any part of the internet’

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The 61-year-old barely blinked as he was sentenced in the Nelson District Court today to six years and four months in prison, on three representative charges of knowingly possessing objectionable publications, namely child exploitation material.

Neither did Harman budge as the shocking summary of facts was read in court, including that the victims in some of the video material could be seen and heard screaming in pain.

Others had been drugged, were asleep, or awake and in great distress, while some had been raised from a young age to be personal sex slaves, all for the gratification of online viewers.

Judge Tony Zohrab described the content as “the worst you can get from any part of the internet”.

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Crown prosecutor Joshua Vuataki described the offending as involving real children being sexually harmed and whose suffering was recorded for the world to see.

“This is a very serious example of its kind,” Vuataki said in setting the Crown’s preferred prison starting point at nine years.

He said Harman’s background was not especially remarkable in terms of a causal link; there was some family violence and a lack of role models and he had “not really engaged in society” but had managed his sexual urges via pornography.

“He had closed himself off to the world,” Vuataki said.

Defence lawyer Kelly Hennessy said Harman’s offending had occurred “while in his bubble” at home.

Judge Zohrab agreed with the Crown’s position and said any trauma Harman had endured was no comparison to that suffered by the victims, and the lifetime of misery to which they had been sentenced.

“Let me tell you, anything that’s happened in your life pales in significance compared to the people in the photos and videos you have carefully collected.”

Judge Zohrab said an aggravating feature was how Harman had meticulously categorised the collection into separate folders to access and view it rather than simply “admire it”.

“What the detectives saw, as well as the sheer quantity – what they noted – was how structured the folders were and the degree of organisation.”

The charges, which Harman admitted earlier, were laid after a search of his house late last year.

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Between October 13 and 21 last year, he downloaded child exploitation material through an internet file-sharing platform publicly available on the internet. The platform allowed users to download images and videos from other users already holding a copy of the file.

‘Lots of naughty pictures’

On December 6 last year, Harman’s home was searched by Nelson detectives and members of the Marlborough Child Exploitation team.

He told them they were likely to find “lots of naughty pictures” and that he considered himself a collector.

Initial inspection of his internet devices revealed images and videos of child exploitation material, ranging from victims being parading nude to being raped.

One of the files was a four-minute compilation video in which a six-month-old baby was sexually abused. Others involved young children, aged from 4 to 10, being sexually exploited in a variety of ways, mostly by adult men.

Crown prosecutor Joshua Vuataki said the offending involved real children being sexually harmed and whose suffering was recorded for the world to see. Photo / Tracy NealCrown prosecutor Joshua Vuataki said the offending involved real children being sexually harmed and whose suffering was recorded for the world to see. Photo / Tracy Neal

Another video, titled “Life in a pedo family”, contained individual scenes compiled into a sampler that were categorised in the investigation as objectionable.

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Further investigation revealed a total of almost 1.2 million photos and videos stored in folders and on a hard drive, including the worst type of Category A objectionable material showing infants and toddlers being raped, as well as bestiality.

Judge Zohrab said people such as Harman created a market for the material which led to the abuse of more and more children around the world, for which the harm continued for thousands of victims with each download.

“I hope you can find in yourself a way to acknowledge these are real people. They are not pictures, movies or cartoons.”

From a starting point of 8½ years in prison, Harman was given a discount for his early guilty pleas to arrive at a sentence of six years and four months in prison for the Category A material and three years for the remaining material, to be served concurrently.

A release date would be set by the Parole Board.

International police organisations, which share information in an attempt to crack down on such crimes, report an increase in the sexual abuse of children, an increase in paraphiliac (a condition characterised by abnormal sexual desires) themes and an increase in the use of peer-to-peer file-sharing platforms.

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Police say they are also seeing greater brutality towards younger victims.

Tracy Neal is a Nelson-based Open Justice reporter at NZME. She was previously RNZ’s regional reporter in Nelson-Marlborough and has covered general news, including court and local government for the Nelson Mail.

Source : https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/nelson-mans-20-year-collection-of-child-exploitation-material-contained-worst-content-from-any-part-of-the-internet/I4YTWNZDARHGRJSXWVQLUUIUKM/

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Date : 2024-07-05 09:17:33

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