A 60-year-old former teacher and ACT Party general election candidate from North Canterbury has been found guilty on 24 child pornography charges.
Malcolm Albert Spark of Kaiapoi was yesterday remanded in custody after the jury returned guilty verdicts at the end of a three-day trial in the Christchurch District Court. Spark stood for ACT in the 1999 election, winning 584 votes in the Waimakariri seat. He was also on the party list, at No 41.
The jury convicted him on all the charges: 10 counts of making an objectionable publication and 14 counts of knowingly possessing an objectionable publication.
The publications related to child sexual exploitation.
The department's case was that Spark had taken part in on-line chats with girls aged from nine to 15 in 2005, which led to him obtaining images which he put with a summary of what he had learned about the girls during the chats.
It seems that in 2005, Mr Spark was already feeling pangs of guilt and wrote a letter to the Press editor in what now appears to be a blatant attempt to justify his own predatory behaviour.
Burning witches?Perturbed by the lack of response to his suggestion of legalising child pornography, Spark tried again the following week.
Sexual fantasy is an area kept mostly out of the public arena. I imagine there are a huge number of sexual fantasy categories of which sex with a child is one.
In order to avoid creating more victims, we need to find out if people who engage in sexual fantasies actually expect to live out those fantasies in real life and if there is any evidence that sexual fantasies are lived out.
If these people actually don't pose a threat, then we need to be very careful we are not burning witches.
Soon digital artists will be able to create photograph quality images of people to satisfy many people's sexual fantasies. When viewing becomes truly victimless, will a crime still be committed?
Finally, are we running the risk of heading towards a society with a new category of police -- thought police?
MALCOLM SPARK Kaiapoi
26 FEB 2005, Edition 2, Page 12.
Why no discussion?
Last week I wrote a letter on sexual fantasies and child pornography under the heading Burning Witches (Feb 26). It is an issue I perceived to be important and I fully expected a large amount of correspondence. To date, apart from two supportive phone calls, there has been no correspondence.
I conclude the subject is of no importance, or it is too frightening for most people to speak up about. If it is the latter, then it is a sad commentary on the state of our free society.
For a society to be truly free, any subject will be able to be discussed openly. The test of freedom comes when the subject is a difficult one. If I am right, in NZ we have still some distance to go before we can consider ourselves part of a free society.
MALCOLM SPARK Kaiapoi
THE PRESS, 5 MAR 2005, Edition 2, Page 12.
Two things we can learn from this,
1) This guy makes David Garrett look like a fine upstanding citizen.
2) If this wannabe-pedophile was ranked #41 on ACT's list, what does that say about those ranked 42 or below?