15 May 2018 Posted in Criminal Law Internet Crime 

Indecent Images Cases in the News – Spring 2018

Nicholas Wragg Posted by Nicholas Wragg, Solicitor & Advocate, Criminal Law

Indecent Images Cases in the News – Spring 2018

Mr E aged 64 of Southam was sentenced in March 2018. He had some 25,000 indecent images of children including  47 Cat A movies and 136 still images. The bulk of the images comprised category C images.

Mr E had made admission at the police station and pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity. He received an 18 month sentence of imprisonment suspended for 2 years with a rehabilitiation activity requirement and 180 hours unpaid work.

In addition he was made subject to the notification requirements and a sexual harm prevention order for a period of 10 years.

 

Mr D aged 28 of Haverhill was sentenced in March 2018. He had some 60,000 indecent images of children including 1624 Cat A movies and 185 videos showing the most serious child abuse. The bulk of the images included 56,000 Cat C images.

Mr D had no previous convictions. He received a 2 year sentence of imprisonment suspended for 2 years with a requirement that he complete 200 hours of unpaid work.

 

Mr F aged 28 of Birmingham was sentenced in February 2018. This was a case of national interest. He was described as “one of Britain’s most prolific paedophiles.” He admitted charges of encouraging the rape of a child, fraud and extreme pornography. He had coerced male and female victims into producing increasingly sever self-generated indecent images.

The offences took place over an eight year period and included him distributing indecent images onto websites. He had posed as a female artist who duped victims into sending images. Once he was in possession of the images he would blackmail them into sending more depraved material.

He received a sentence of imprisonment of 32 years.

 

Mr S aged 42 of Manchester was sentenced in January 2018. A primary school teacher and conservative councillor, Mr S had pleaded not guilty to six counts of making and distributing using WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. He was found guilty by a jury.

Mr S was sentenced to immediate imprisonment for a term of 2 years and 9 months. He will also be subject to the notification requirements for life.

 

Mr R aged 54 of Oxford was sentence for two counts of possession of indecent images of children on a tablet device. His case was aggravated by the fact that he had a previous conviction for similar offences committed in 1999 but sentenced in 2004.

Mr R received an immediate prison sentence of 12 months imprisonment.

 

Mr J of Tonypandy aged 60 was sentenced in January to 30 months immediate imprisonment. He had been previously convicted for similar offences in 2013 having received a sentence of 4 years imprisonment. The current offences meant that he was in breach of a sexual harm prevention order. The court found that he posed a significant risk of serious harm and therefore extended his sentence to include 5 years on licence.

 

Mr W of Liverpool was sentenced in March. He was a priest who had accessed indecent images via Zoom and was discovered during a US led international investigation. He faced 2 counts of making indecent images.

Mr W received a three year community order, was made subject to the notification requirements and a sexual harm prevention order for a period of 7 years.

 

Mr C aged 38 and a teacher was sentenced in January for two counts of making indecent images and one count of distribution. He originaly pleaded not guilty but changed his plea days before his trial was listed to begin. He received a sentence of immediate imprisonment of 3 years and two months which means he will be subject to the notification requirements for life.

 

Mr H aged 37 of Sussex and a police officer was sentenced in March in respect of a number of counts of possessing and making indecent images of children. He was also charged with misconduct in public office.

As part of his offending he had accessed the Facebook account of a 13 year old rape victim who had given him her password and had sent images of herself to him.

Mr H received an immediate custodial sentence of 2 years. He was made subject to the notification requirements for 10 years.

 

Mr E aged 29 of Shropshire received an immediate custodial sentence of 18 months for 3 offences of distribution of indecent images of children. He was also found to be in possession of 1158 indecent images of all categories.

 

Mr N of Northamptonshire and a teacher received an immediate custodial sentence of 16 months after being found to be in possession of 192 indecent images of children including 15 in the highest category. Some of the images were downloaded whilst at school.

Some of the images depicted victims as young as four and there were images were the victims were in clear distress.

The Learned Judge indicated that he would have understood the impact on children. He was made subject to the notification requirements for 10 years and subject to a sexual harm prevention order for the same period.

 

Mr H aged 39 of Teesiode and a fireman originally blamed colleagues in respect of some 50,000 indecent images of children located on his computer. The case was aggravated by the significant number of different victims as well as having images in the highest category.

Mr H finally pleaded guilty on the day of trial thereby significantly reducing the credit he would have otherwise received for an early guilty plea. He had also been cautioned aged 18 for a sexual assault where the victim at the time was 15.

He received a 1 year sentence of imprisonment suspended for two years. He was made subject to a rehabilitation activity requirement and made subject to the notification requirments and sexual harm prevention order for a period of 10 years.

 

Commentary:

As can be seen in the case of F above offences which include coercion of victims into sending indecent images attract long prison sentences. The same principles apply in respect of those that view live streaming of such material.

In general terms those who make or are in possession of indecent images tend to avoid immediate custodial sentences whereas those who distribute tend to receive immediate custodial sentences. There are of course exceptions particularly where there are aggravating features such as images of particularly young children or images depicting distress. Conversely Mowbray Woodwards represented Mr P at Swindon recently and he avoided an immediate sentence of imprisonment for distribution because of strong mitigation, intensive family support and his efforts to address his offending behaviour.

All person convicted of images offences become subject to the notification requirements. This is because of statute and not the discretion of the sentencing judge. Sexual Harm Prevention Orders are usually imposed. The test for the sentencing judge is whether such an order is necessary to protect the public from harm. Mowbray Woodwards represented Mr S at Bristol recently and the sentencing judge refused to impose such an order given that the defendant had sought to address his offending behaviour before the police had executed a search warrant. He had also attended a significant number of counselling sessions with a psychotherapist and had completed the online Stop it Now modules.

A sexual harm prevention order is usually set to run for the same duration that a defendant is subject to the Notification Requirements.

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Nicholas Wragg

Nicholas Wragg

Solicitor & Advocate, Criminal Law

01225 485700

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