Life in ruins after sending indecent images of children

A 32-YEAR-OLD man was sentenced to 210 hours of community service for seven offences involving indecent images of children when he appeared in the Royal Court.

(Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29268188)
(Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29268188)

John Doherty admitted one charge of distribution, four of possession and two of making.

The making charges involved downloading and storing the images and not taking them.

Prosecuting advocate Jenny McVeigh told the court that the defendant had been arrested on suspicion of possessing indecent images of children in Le Truchot, St Peter Port, just after 8am on 30 July.

His mobile phone was seized, for which he gave police the pin code. A laptop computer was taken during the search of his home which followed.

A forensic examination of both devices was carried out. Some of the images on the laptop dated from 2010 and although they were in the deleted items were in a fully viewable format. Others were live on the machine’s desktop.

Indecent images of children are graded on a C to A ascending scale in terms of their seriousness. The total number of images involved in this case was 20 of A and 26 of C.

It was established that between 30 June and 5 July, the defendant had supplied one category A image and eight of category C to another person in the Bailiwick.

The link to the Twitter account to which he sent them was made via his email address.

Doherty chose not to answer questions in his two interviews.

Advocate Samuel Steel said, despite what it might look like, his client had no sexual interest in children.

He had deep shame and regret regarding his behaviour which, in his own words, had been abhorrent.

On 10 October he attempted to take his own life as a result of what he had done. In the end he went to police seeking help and had been in custody ever since.

The historical items found on his laptop had been sent to him by MSN Messenger. He had been shocked to receive them and had not asked for them.

He deleted them but they had lain dormant on the machine.

With the making offences, he had been planning to dispose of his laptop but wanted to save certain items. These included images of an ex-girlfriend, an adult. When he was doing this, inadvertently he downloaded the historical images.

Regarding the distribution charge, he had become friends online with a man who said he was a nudist. His client became interested in the man’s wife and regularly asked him to send him photographs of her.

He got the impression that the man liked young girls.

In an attempt to persuade him to send him photographs of his wife, his client sent the man pornographic images which he accepted had crossed the line in terms of decency.

His reputation was in ruins as a result of these offences and he had lost the woman who he said was the love of his life.

He had no previous convictions, was educated to degree level, and had an impressive career in finance.

One character reference supplied to the court described him as a decent, honest, kind-hearted man while another said he was a committed and intelligent employee.

In his sentencing remarks, Bailiff Richard McMahon said such images were abhorrent and revolting and could be found only by those who went looking for them. Each involved the degradation and abuse of a child.

Ignorance of the devices involved was no mitigation.

The court remained open-minded on whether the defendant’s denial of having a sexual interest in children was genuine.

His guilty pleas were acknowledged and it was accepted he had learned his lesson.

The four months he had already spent in custody were taken into account.

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