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NZ Man Found Guilty of Creating and Distributing Child Porn on Darknet

By NoirDotAuthor Jan. 2, 2021, 3:16 a.m.
NZ Man Found Guilty of Creating and Distributing Child Porn on Darknet

An Ashburton man who filmed a 3-year-old boy touching him and posted the video to the dark web has been found guilty of 15 charges relating to child sexual abuse.

About a year before Harry James Mitchell coaxed the 3-year-old into his vehicle at the motor camp where they were both staying, he sneaked into a 7-year-old’s bedroom and filmed himself doing indecent acts beside the boy’s head as he slept.

The 48-year-old had challenged five counts of doing an indecent act with a child under 12, five of making an objectionable publication, two of distributing an objectionable publication, one of possessing an objectionable publication, and two of burglary in a trial before Judge Joanna Maze in the Timaru District Court.

On Thursday, Judge Maze found Mitchell guilty of all 15 charges.

Mitchell came to the attention of Taskforce Argos, an Australian police unit investigating online child exploitation and abuse, after posting sexually-explicit images of his younger victim to the dark web on February 7, 2019.

Judge Maze said police arrested Mitchell on February 14 and executed a search warrant at his home the next day, seizing his computer after finding the images which had been distributed to the dark web.

Thousands of images depicting sadism, bestiality, and children in sexual situations were recovered from one of the computer’s five hard drives.

Mitchell met his first victim after moving into a caravan at the 7-year-old boy’s family home, his mother having advertised for a boarder.

“He had authority to use the kitchen, lounge, laundry, and bathroom – but not the bedrooms,” Judge Maze said.

One night, Mitchell entered the boy’s bedroom while wearing only underwear and started taking sexually-explicit photographs and videos. Police found these images on the defendant’s computer, years after they were taken.

“Mr Mitchell’s efforts to avoid detection and not wake the sleeping child proves he knew his actions were indecent,” Judge Maze said.

Mitchell met his second victim at a motor camp. Befriending the 3-year-old boy, he lured him into the vehicle where he slept and induced him to touch him, filming the indecent act and posting it online.

“[The victim’s parents] discovered their son in Mr Mitchell’s vehicle while the windows were covered in blankets on at least two or three occasions, reflecting exactly what was shown in the films,” Judge Maze said.

“I am satisfied the offender making the film was Mr Mitchell … There is no evidence taken from his computer that he had received the films.”

In detailing Mitchell’s previous convictions, Judge Maze said in 1990 he was convicted of doing an indecent act with a boy under 12, in 1999 of two counts of doing an indecent act with intent to insult or offend and in 2002 he was convicted on 10 counts of possessing an objectionable publication.

Mitchell was remanded in custody for sentencing on February 25, 2021.








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