Gary Ramon Shaw
A High Court decision has reinforced New Zealand's censorship law, the Internal Affairs Department says.
In July Wellington student Gary Ramon Shaw, 40, was jailed for nine months and fined $2000 after being convicted in the Wellington District Court of distributing movies and pictures of children being sexually abused.
The High Court on Friday dismissed Shaw's appeal against his conviction and sentence.
Department deputy-secretary Andrew Secker said yesterday that this had been the first case in which an offender had pleaded not guilty, arguing that by using file-sharing software known as "peer-to-peer" applications he got around legal definitions used in the Films Videos and Publications Classification Act.
The case was important because most offending by New Zealanders now involved the use of such software and similar not-guilty pleas were being entered in many other cases.
At his trial, Shaw had argued unsuccessfully that he was not guilty based on technical arguments about how peer-to-peer applications worked and the meanings of the phrases "makes available" and "for gain".
"The district court decision had immediate effect, and was soon being referred to by a judge and lawyers in other cases," Mr Secker said.
"To have the High Court uphold that decision reinforces it, giving it important precedent value.
"Such decisions are important tools for the department and other agencies to use in future cases."
OFFENCES / CONVICTIONS
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