Prominent Auckland businessman jailed for sexually exploiting children

Long Lunch 18/09/2018
Photo: Newshub.

A prominent Auckland businessman has been sentenced to four years and six months in prison for sexually exploiting children.

Martin Henry Lawes, 75, treated the children he sexually exploited “like toys”, Justice Edwin Wylie said.

He gave Lawes discounts for it being his first offence, his age, his “good character” in the past, and contribution to the community.

But there was no discount for remorse because his attitude after his arrest was of “entitlement and self-justification”, Justice Wylie said.

Stop Demand founder Denise Ritchie says the judge did not accept there was “genuine” remorse.

Ms Ritchie told RadioLIVE that Lawes was caught following a major operation, started by the FBI, between 2008 and 2017.

During that time he sent about $100,000 to people in the Philippines via Paypal and Western Union.

Lawes said he believed he was helping the children because they lived in poverty.

“The FBI got in touch with our authorities – we had the police and customs involved here.

“It’s an excellent example of huge cooperation and commitment by these agents towards protecting children – no matter where they are in the world,” she said.

Since his arrest he donated $45,000 to two charities aimed at helping children who have been sexually exploited.

Listen to the full interview with Denise Ritchie above.

The Long Lunch with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.