In a recent case heard at Belfast Crown Court, a man who was found to possess more than 500 indecent images and videos was placed on probation for three years. Critical considerations in the case were 'sexual immaturity' and that the accused made full admissions when interviewed by police.
In August 2014, police officers were called to Glenn Winchester's home where he was present and told the attending police officers that he knew why they had come. Police searched his home and seized Mr Winchester's laptop, iPad and mobile phone. The devices contained more than 500 indecent images and videos of children. During the search, Mr Winchester told police that he would never intentionally hurt a child. When he was later arrested and interviewed, he made full admissions to downloading the material. His defence stated that Mr Winchester had the behaviour "hanging over his head for a considerable length of time."
In his defence, it was pointed out that Mr Winchester, now 25 was 18/19 years old at the time of the offending and it was argued that he was "sexually immature stage and exploring matters." Mr Winchester's defence stated that he had not committed any offences since and was genuinely remorseful for his actions.
Judge Neil Rafferty QC placed Mr Winchester on probation for three years, and he was made the subject of a ten-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order.
Indecent Images and the Law
Downloading indecent images of children both on the open internet and on the dark web is illegal in the UK. The law relating to indecent images is contained in the Criminal Justice Act 1988 and also in the Protection of the Children Act 1978. The Criminal Justice Act 1988 makes it a criminal offence to be in possession of an indecent photograph or 'pseudo-photograph' of a child. Possession extends to any evidence of such images on a computer, laptop, mobile phone, iPad or another device where the owner has control over the images. The 1978 Act makes it an offence to take, permit the taking of, or to make indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of children.
Expert Sexual Offences and Indecent Images Criminal Defence Lawyers