The New Zealand Law Society has told Parliament’s Justice and Electoral select committee that some aspects of the Objectionable Publications and Indecency Legislation Bill need further consideration.
Law Society spokesperson Graeme Edgeler says the principal aim of the bill is to increase penalties applying to images of child sexual exploitation.
“But the range of objectionable publications targeted by the bill is much broader, and can include material that is not about sex or child sexual exploitation at all,” he says.
The bill proposes to increase the maximum sentence for making or supplying objectionable material from 10 to 14 years, and possession of objectionable material involving knowledge from 5 to 10 years.
“The Law Society questions whether the proposed increases in maximum sentence should be restricted to cases involving images of child sexual exploitation, since this is the principal concern behind the bill.”
The Law Society also questions whether the proposed presumption in favour of imprisonment for repeat offenders relating to images of child sexual exploitation is required.
“The Sentencing Act 2002 already provides that previous convictions are an aggravating factor when determining sentences and it is doubtful the new proposal would have much impact in practice,” Mr Edgeler says.
Clause 7 of the bill would produce the same outcome as current sentencing principles, which require sentencing judges dealing with repeat offenders to consider the circumstances of the offence and the offender.