Cite as: Yaman Akdeniz, Regulation of Child Pornography on the Internet: Cases and Materials, at http://www.cyber-rights.org/reports/child.htm. Last updated November 2001. Copyright Yaman Akdeniz, 1996-2001. All Rights Reserved. No part of this database can be copied without our permission. Journalists and researchers please contact at firstname.lastname@example.org for permission to use materials from this database of cases and materials.
This section of Cyber-Rights &
Cyber-Liberties (UK) deals with the regulation of
child pornography on the Internet under various jurisdictions.
These pages are regularly updated.
NEWS ITEMS RELEVANT TO THIS
The offence in section 1 of the 1978 states:
"It is an offence for a person -
(a) to take, or permit to be taken or to make, any indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of a child;
(b) to distribute or show such indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs; or ........."
The section 7(7) of the 1978 Act gives a legal definition to the pseudo-photographs by stating:
"(7) "Pseudo-photograph" means an image, whether made by computer-graphics or otherwise howsoever, which appears to be a photograph."
The definition of "photograph" given in section 7(4) of the Protection of Children Act 1978 did not include photographs in electronic data format and it was criticised by the Crown Prosecution Service in their evidence to the Home Affairs Committee. The response came in the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. Section 84(4) of the 1994 Act inserted a subsection (b) to section 7(4) of the 1978:
"(b) data stored on a computer disc or by other electronic means which is capable of conversion into a photograph."
The main purpose of section 84 was to deal with the so called "pseudo-photographs" of children. Pseudo-photographs are technically photographs but they are created by computer software such as MS Paintbrush or Picture Publisher by using more than one picture. For example a child's face can be superimposed on an adult body or to another child's body together with the alteration of the characteristics of the body. In the evidence given to the Home Affairs Committee, the case of Shakespeare was mentioned. In this case little girls' heads were put on to a pornographic adult body. Mr. Newell, Director of Casework stated that they were unable to prosecute in this case because the photographs involved were pseudo-photographs.
Under the section 160 of the 1988 Act:
"(1) It is an offence for a person to have any indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph of a child in his possession.
(2) Where a person is charged with an offence under ss(1) above, it shall be a defence for him to prove -
(a) that he had a legitimate reason for having the photograph or pseudo-photograph in his possession; or
(b) that he had not himself seen the photograph or pseudo-photograph and did not know, nor had any cause to suspect, it to be indecent; or
(c) that the photograph or pseudo-photograph was sent to him without any prior request made by him or on his behalf and that he did not keep it for an unreasonable time."
This offence is a serious arrestable offence with a maximum imprisonment term not exceeding six months. It has been successfully used in its new form in the recent cases of Sharp and Crumpton.
Lord Hylton Asked Her Majesty's Government:
Lord Bassam of Brighton: The term "pornography" is not recognised in legislation, which in England and Wales covers indecent material (particularly indecent photographs or computer generated images of children) and obscene material, There are separate common law and statutory offences in Northern Ireland.
In England and Wales, obscenity legislation, such as the Obscene Publications Act 1959 and the Protection of Children Act 1978, applies equally to material placed on the Internet as to material published and distributed in other media; what is illegal off-line is illegal on-line.
15 Jan 2001 : Column WA102
Under the Obscene Publications Act 1959 it is an offence to publish an "obscene article", as defined in the Act. Under Section 2 of the Act a person who publishes (distributes, circulates, sells, lets on hire, gives or lends it, or who offers it for sale or for letting on hire) an obscene article, or transmits obscene data electronically may be guilty of an offence.
Under the Protection of Children Act 1976, there is an absolute prohibition of the production, circulation and possession with a view to distribution of any indecent photograph of a child under 16. The simple possession of an indecent photograph of a child is also an offence under Section 160 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988. Section 84 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 updated these controls to include indecent computer-generated photographs of children, and they have been successfully applied to child pornography transmitted over the Internet.
The Government support the work of the Internet Watch Foundation which was set up in 1996 by Internet service providers to enable members of the public, via a hotline, to report potentially illegal material in a newsgroup or website. If the material is considered illegal, the foundation passes details to the United Kingdom police to initiate action against the originators and asks British Internet service providers (ISPs) to close down links to the site. If the originators are abroad, the foundation passes the report to the National Criminal Intelligence Service
15 Jan 2001 : Column WA103(NCIS) which liaises with the enforcement agencies of the countries concerned.
The way in which records are held for those initially charged by the police and those convicted by the courts in England and Wales differs. Offences involving "obscene publications, etc and protected sexual material" became notifiable offences from 1 April
15 Jan 2001 : Column WA1041998. The number of offences recorded in England and Wales for year ending 31 March 1999 was 603 and for year ending 31 March 2000 was 643.
The numbers of convictions for offences under the Obscene Publications Act 1959, Protection of Children Act 1978 and Section 160 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 for each of the last three years are contained in the table.
15 Jan 2001 : Column WA103
|86/01||Obscene Publications Act 1959|
|Sec(2)(1) as amended by Obscene Publications Act 1964 Sec 1(1)--Prohibition of publication of obscene matter||186||176||96||54||44||41|
|86/02||Protection of Children Act 1978 S.I. as amended by Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 Sec. 84-Take, permit to be taken or to make distribute or publish indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of children||103||82||139||14||26||31|
|181/06||Criminal Justice Act 1988 Sec.160 as amended by the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, Secs. 84(4) and 86(1)--Possession of an indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph||81||105||99||17||19||34|
Source: Crime and Criminal Justice Unit, Home Office.
With regard to Northern Ireland, the equivalent legislation is the Protection
of Children Act (Northern Ireland) 1978 (as amended) and the common law offence
of publishing an "Obscene Libel". Prosecution data under this
legislation are not currently available.
The equivalent law in Scotland is devolved. The Scottish Executive will
respond directly to the noble Lord as soon as possible.
15 Jan 2001 : Column WA103
With regard to Northern Ireland, the equivalent legislation is the Protection of Children Act (Northern Ireland) 1978 (as amended) and the common law offence of publishing an "Obscene Libel". Prosecution data under this legislation are not currently available.
The equivalent law in Scotland is devolved. The Scottish Executive will respond directly to the noble Lord as soon as possible.
Mr. Dawson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many successful prosecutions there were for the possession of child pornography in the last three years for which figures are available. 
Mr. Charles Clarke: Available information, taken from the Home Office Court Proceedings Database, is given in the table.
Take, make, distribute, show, possess with intent to distribute or show, or publish any advertisement conveying the distribution of indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of children (1)
|Total||Total found guilty|
|Year||proceeded against (2)||Number||Percentage|
(1) Protection of Children Act 1978 sections 1 and 6 as amended by the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, section 84.
(2) = 100 per cent
Possession of an indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph of a child (3)
|Total||Total found guilty|
|Year||proceeded against (4)||Number||Percentage|
(3) Criminal Justice Act 1988 section 160 as amended by the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 sections 84(4) and 86(1).
(4) = 100 per cent
Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many individuals were prosecuted for offences in connection with child pornography on the internet in each year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Charles Clarke: Offences involving child pornography on the internet would be prosecuted under either section 1 and section 6 of the Protection of Children Act 1978 as amended or section 160 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 as amended.
However, court proceedings data received centrally under this legislation do not specify the type of medium used.
The table shows the number of persons prosecuted under the above legislation.
Number of persons prosecuted at magistrates courts for child pornography offences, England and Wales, 1994-98
|Take, or make indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of children(2)||40||53||80||111||116|
|Possession of an indecent photograph, or pseudo-photograph, of a child(3)||53||60||125||124||167|
(2) Protection of Children Act 1978 section 1, section 6 as amended by Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 section 84
(3) Criminal Justice Act 1988 section 160 as amended by Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 sections 84(4) and 86(1)
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prosecutions there have been in England and Wales in each of the last three years for offences involving the use of children in the production of pornography. 
Mr. Michael: Available information from the Home Office Court Proceedings database is given in the table.
15 Jul 1998 : Column: 191
Number of persons prosecuted for child pornography offences, England and Wales, 1994-96
|Take, make, distribute, show, possess with intent to distribute or show, or publish any advertisement conveying the distribution of indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of children(2)||37||3||49||4||80||--|
|Possession of an indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph of a child(3)||53||--||59||1||122||3|
(2) Protection of Children Act 1978 S1, 6 as amended by the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 S84
(3) Criminal Justice Act 1988 S160 as amended by the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 S84(4) and 86(1)
More statistics for child pornography offences under the 1978 Protection of Children Act were announced through a House of Commons Written answer on the 25th of June, 1998.
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been prosecuted in England and Wales during the last 12 months for trading in child pornography. 
Mr. Michael: Prosecutions for trading in child pornography cannot be identified separately on the Home Office Court Proceedings database from other child pornography offences. The information available on child pornography is given in the table.
Number of persons prosecuted in 1996 for child pornography offences
|England and Wales|
|Take, make, distribute, show, possess with intent to distribute or show, or publish any advertisement conveying the distribution of indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of children(1)||80||0|
|Possession of an indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph of a child(2)||122||3|
(1) Protection of Children Act 1978 Sec 1,6 as amended by the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 Sec 84
(2) Criminal Justice Act 1988 Sec 160 as amended by the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 Sec 84(4) and 86(1)
(19571) Draft Joint Action to combat Child
Pornography on the Internet.
Legal base: K.3(2)(b)
Department: Home Office
Basis of consideration: Explanatory Note of 4 November 1998
Previous consideration: None
Committee's assessment: Politically important
Committee's decision: Cleared on the basis of information supplied by the Government
12.1 This Joint Action is a contribution to the implementation of Recommendation 5 of the EU Action Plan to combat organised crime which was endorsed by the Amsterdam European Council in June 1997. Measures to tackle illegal content on the Internet were also proposed in the Council Resolution on illegal and harmful content on the Internet, adopted at the Telecommunications Council meeting on 28 November 1996, and we recently cleared the amended draft Decision to establish a four year Action Plan promoting safer use of the Internet [(19531); see HC 34-i (1998-99), paragraph 9 (25 November 1998).].
12.2 In her Explanatory Note of 4 November, the Parliamentary Under- Secretary of State for the Home Department (Kate Hoey) helpfully summarises the contents of the draft Joint Action as follows:
"Article 1 asks Member States to encourage and enable Internet users to report child pornography; where necessary, to set up specialised child pornography units within law enforcement agencies; and to ensure that law enforcement reacts swiftly on receipt of information.
"Article 2 requires Member States to co-operate in facilitating investigations and prosecutions; to make full use of existing contact points and channels, such as Interpol; to inform Europol of suspected cases of child pornography; and to consider setting up regular meetings of competent authorities.
"Article 3 requires Member States to examine voluntary or binding measures aimed at eliminating child pornography from the Internet. This should be done in consultation with industry. Measures to be examined may include ways of prompting Internet providers to inform the authorities about such material when it is brought to their notice and eliminate it from their systems; to assist prosecutions by retaining traffic data and making it available to the authorities; and to set up their own control systems against child pornography.
"Article 4 requires Member States to keep the adequacy of their criminal procedural law under regular review in the light of technological developments.
"Article 5 requires Member States to encourage the production of filters and other technical means aimed at preventing and detecting distribution of child pornography.
"Article 6 provides for mutual evaluation of Member States' compliance with the 1997 Joint Action on Trafficking in Human Beings and Sexual Exploitation of Children, and with the 1995 Resolution on Interception."
The Government's view
12.3 The Minister comments:
"The Government endorses the need for effective action by Member States to deal with child pornography and broadly supports the provisions of the draft joint Action. The UK has been a leader within the EU in developing measures of the kind envisaged in Articles 1 and 3. The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), a self-regulatory organisation funded by industry, was created in 1996 and is supported by the major Internet service providers and their trade associations. It has established good working relationships with the Metropolitan Police and NCIS to whom it passes on information about criminal content particularly on child pornography received from the public.
"This approach has been endorsed in European fora and is being followed or considered by other Member States. The IWF is now involved in an international initiative on content rating. The intention is to devise a common voluntary rating system, whereby content providers rate their material, which is capable of being adapted to suit conditions in individual countries. However, the feasibility of software filters capable of detecting illegal content (as envisaged in Article 6 ) is at present uncertain.
"Article 3 In general, Internet service providers in the UK are not required to vet the material which their customers store and transmit. They do however acquire responsibilities once they become aware of material which is illegal. Should they not remove child pornography from their servers once they are made aware of it, they could be prosecuted under the Protection of Children Act 1978 for the dissemination of such material. In general, UK Internet service providers are diligent in removing illegal material once they are made aware of it and in co-operating with law enforcement when investigations into crime are under way.
"Article 4 The position in law is that what is illegal off the Internet is illegal on it. The criminal law, therefore, applies to child pornography on the Internet. Under the Protection of Children Act 1978, it is an offence to take, permit to take, distribute, show or possess with a view to distribution or showing an indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph of a child, it is also an offence under Section 160 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 for a person to have an indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph of a child in their possession. The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 amended the definition of photograph to include data stored on a computer disc or by other electronic means which is capable of conversion into a photograph. The 1994 Act also amended the law to introduce the concept of 'pseudo-photograph' which means an image, whether generated by computer graphics or otherwise, which appears to be a photograph.
"We believe that at present, in respect of child pornography, the law has adequately accommodated technical developments and should enable law enforcement authorities to take necessary measures to combat this activity on computer networks."
12.4 In the Government's view, no change to UK legislation would be needed to meet the provisions of the Joint Action as currently drafted, and it has no financial implications.
12.5 The Minister tells us that the Presidency is likely to seek adoption of the Joint Action at the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 3 December.
12.6 Title VI of the Treaty on European Union restricts co-operation between Member States in the field of Justice and Home Affairs to a number of areas expressed in Article K.1. In the present case, the relevant objectives which the Joint Action would be seeking to promote are judicial co-operation in criminal matters and police co-operation to prevent and combat serious international crime. However, the Committee notes that certain aspects of the proposal do not readily fall within the concept of judicial and police co-operation. In particular, Articles 1 and 4 appear to require individual initiatives by Member States rather than co-operation. We are not clear whether the Government takes the view that such provisions fall within the remit of the areas listed in Article K.1. If not, does it nonetheless consider that they may lawfully be covered by the Joint Action and, if so, on what grounds?
12.7 We consider that the document raises a question of principle, as set out in para 1.6 above. We should be grateful for the Minister's response to this before the end of the year.
12.8 However, we support the Government in its endorsement of the need for effective action by Member States to deal with child pornography, and note its confidence that the UK will have no difficulty in meeting the provisions of the Joint Action. We therefore clear the document.
In September 1998, about 100 people in 12 countries were arrested in what the UK police claims to be the biggest-ever worldwide swoop on paedophiles operating over the Internet. British police co-ordinated the raids, code-named "Operation Cathedral," in Europe, Australia, and the United States. The police recovered more than 100,000 indecent images of children as young as two from one U.S.-based paedophile club known as "Wonderland."
According to the Police, 11 people were arrested in Britain across the country. In co-operation with other police forces and Interpol, 32 addresses were raided in the United States, 18 in Germany, 16 in Italy, 8 in Norway, and in Finland, Belgium, Austria, France, Sweden, and Portugal. Police officials from the participating states had met over the summer at Interpol headquarters in France to prepare the action. Some of the children whose images were used in the paedophile club were related to those arrested. The paedophile ring was originally targeted by police in Sussex, southern England, following a tip from the U.S. customs service. Interpol headquarters in France said British authorities had sought their assistance "when it became clear the arrests of the ring members, in almost constant contact over the Internet, would have to be very precisely coordinated."
The police identified more than 100 subscribers in 12 countries, including Britain. Seven men were charged in November 1998 with conspiracy to distribute indecent images of children following the Operation Cathedral in Hastings, East Sussex and they will appear in court on January 7, 1999. Apart from bringing forward prosecutions, the UK police also intend to publish photographs of hundreds of child victims so that they can be identified following Operation Cathedral. The intention of the police is to find the children and save them from further abuse. In December 1998, National Crime Squad officers will discuss their plans to publish photographs of the victims with their colleagues in forces abroad.
Information related to individual UK cases will appear in these pages when they are available.
BBC News, "Eight in court over Internet porn," January 7, 1999. Eight men have appeared in court following Operation Cathedral. The eight men who appeared at Hastings Magistrates Court were charged with conspiring to distribute indecent images of children. The men were remanded on conditional bail until 5 March. A ninth man, a computer consultant from Maidenhead, is due to appear before Maidenhead magistrates on charges of possession and distribution of indecent images of children on 12 January.
The British police were involved in Operation Starbust, an international investigation of a paedophile ring thought to be using the Internet to distribute graphic pictures of child pornography. Nine British men were arrested as a result of the operation which involved other arrests in Europe, America, South Africa and the Far East. The operation identified 37 men world wide. A German student arrested in Germany, then identified other 39, 2 of them in the UK, and one of them then identified other 17. The operation was widely reported in the media and Detective Inspector David Davis, head of West Midlands police commercial vice unit stated that, this was so far the biggest operation they have carried out concerning the distribution of child pornography on the Internet.
As a result of Operation Starburst six cases of simple possession offences were brought to court. However, this section deals with all the reported cases of child pornography involving the Internet within the United Kingdom. This section is regularly updated.
Following Operation Starburst, a management consultant named Christopher Sharp has been fined £9000. He is the first person to be prosecuted in a case involving pornography and the Internet. Sharp admitted two charges of possessing indecent photographs of children under the age of 16 contrary to section 160 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988. His computer equipment was seized, he was fined £4500 on each charge, and he was ordered to pay 35 costs.
In early 1996, Martin Crumpton, a former computer consultant, was sentenced to three months of imprisonment in a Birmingham magistrates' court. He also admitted to being in possession of indecent pictures of children and is the first person to be jailed in an offence concerning pornography and the Internet.
Melvin Dunstan of Nottingham was sentenced to 120 hours of community service in January 1996 (See Cath Everett, "Internet paedophile case exposes gaps in the law" VNU Business Publications Ltd. 1996 available at http://www.mpn.com/). He was charged with 4 possession offences and one of sending indecent message contrary to section 43 of the Telecommunications Act 1984which makes it an offence to send
"by means of a public telecommunications system, a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character."
On the 22nd August 1996, a computer scientist named Peter Crowhurst, of Mallard Way, Grove has been charged with possessing indecent photographs of children at his south Oxfordshire home. He has been charged under section 160 of the 1988 Criminal Justice Act and Wantage police stated that:
"All the children are under 16 but there is nothing to suggest that they are local. He works in computers and there is a possibility the offence is related to computers."
Dr Peter Crowhurst's obsession was discovered when police were told he had been missing from work for several days and broke in to find him drunk and surrounded by pornography. Crowhurst, 42, a support scientist in the development of microchips, had videos, magazines, photographs and computer images of children in indecent poses. He had taken the computer pictures from the Internet and altered some by computer to remove clothes and add genitals, Wantage, Oxon Magistrates were told. Susan Worth, prosecuting stated that:
"The bed was strewn with rubbish and pictures. A full search of the premises revealed a large amount of photos, negatives and pseudo-photos from the Internet. He also took indecent photographs and video film."
Crowhurst, who now lives in Essex, admitted taking indecent photographs, possessing indecent photographs and making indecent pseudo-photographs between January 1980 and August this year. John Arnold, defending, stated that: "Most of these images were indecent but not obscene and there is a big difference. There is no specific victim and no injury. It is just a rather sad case." Crowhurst was granted bail by Wantage, Oxon Magistrates on condition he lives in a bail hostel and is due to appear in court again in October.
The Guardian on September 18,1996 reported that, Danial Nye, was prosecuted for having downloaded some 500 pornographic images involving child pornography from the Internet. He was a Brunel University student, although it is not mentioned whether his university account was involved. He was sentenced by the St. Edmundsbury Magistrates for six months imprisonment and his computer equipment was ordered to be destroyed.
Although he had "deleted the images from computer memory, they were retrieved from his hard disc". Many were said by the CIA, who tipped off British police, to contain pornographic images involving children. The story does not detail the laws under which the man was prosecuted but possibly he was charged and prosecuted with possession of child pornography offences under section 160 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988.
Dr John Payne, 48, a GP in Warminster, Wiltshire, for 21 years, admitted a string of computer child pornography charges on Monday the 11th of November 1996. He had four images of children in indecent poses stored on his home computer. He also had one image of a "pornographic homosexual nature" which, although not an offence in itself, was illegal as he had transmitted or received it via telephone lines.
The GP, resigned from his 2,000-patient surgery after police, acting on a tip-off, raided his home and seized the indecent material, gleaned from the Internet, in September. Dr. Payne, admitted one charge of using the telephone to transmit or receive a pornographic image and four counts of possessing indecent computer pictures of children, at West Wiltshire Magistrates' Court, Trowbridge.
Ms Warren for the prosecution said there was no suggestion that Payne transmitted the child pictures via his computer but he had failed to delete them from the computer's memory. She added that he had volunteered to go through the system with police computer experts to make sure no other illegal material was stored.
Charles Goodbody, defending, said: "You have a man before you who was very well respected in the local community. He is a man of previous good character. He was involved in the community, not just as a GP but in all aspects of life."
Magistrates adjourned the case until December 6 for reports, and released Payne on unconditional bail.
Dr. Payne was sentenced to 120 hours' community service on the 6th of December 1996, by the Trowbridge Magistrates. Charles Goodbody, defending, stated that, Payne had had an interest in computers for years and had subscribed to Internet chat lines.
"On the chat lines you can download lots of data without looking at it. He has told me and the police he never had an interest in children and it was to his surprise that these images had not been deleted. "The explanation given by Dr Payne was that the use of the Internet was his form of escapism. The isolation and discussion with people thousands of miles away helped to relax him. The pornographic chat lines provide data which is only slightly more explicit than information from the top shelf of a newsagent. He wasn't the photographer. He was not inciting the actions. He was an innocent witness of material he should not have seen."
Graham Warren, 34, a statistician, downloaded the images on to floppy disks at Newcastle University before copying them into his laptop computer. His activities were exposed by a resident systems programmer and investigations revealed a collection of 100 pornographic images. They included scenes of pornography showing full and oral sex between children and adults, and boys involved in homosexual acts. Warren, a married father of two, of Blyth, Northumberland, admitted 10 specimen charges of possessing indecent photographs of children.
Tony Glover, prosecuting, told Newcastle upon Tyne magistrates that Warren was allowed access once a week to the university's computers through his job as a statistician with a research facility based in Whitehaven, Cumbria. In September of 1995, the university's systems programmer noticed that some unusual files had been transferred from the Internet, all of which could be traced back to the computer used by Warren. Mr Glover stated that:
"On one occasion he found 17 files had been transferred all containing image data. They all contained pictures of sexual acts involving children, or adults and children. The programmer contacted the police."
Mark Saunders, defending, said Warren had lost his job and suffered great embarrassment since his secret was exposed. He said: "He was certainly not involved in distributing this material and did not pass it on to anyone else." Warren, now unemployed, was was fined £1,000 and also ordered to pay £300 costs on 27 November 1996 by the Newcastle upon Tyne Magistrates.
Dr George Reid, a research scientist at the Cancer Research Campaign's Beatson Institiute, in Glasgow, Scotland has been jailed for three months after being found guilty of possessing child pornography downloaded from a Japanese site on the Internet. The Police found 1871 images containing child pornography stored on Reid's computer. The police located Reid after a scientific officer found the images following a scan of the computer system at the research center to see why it was overloaded.
Dr Reid's solicitor claimed he had stored the pictures accidentally, but the prosecution did not agree. Sheriff George Crozier dismissed a plea for a non-custodial sentence, stating that:
'This evil trade has to be stamped out. There has to be a deterrent.'
Dr Reid had to resign from his job but John Wyke, the Research Institute's director, said he hoped Dr Reid would be given a chance to redeem himself and that rehabilitation would not be lost in the natural desire for punishment.
Peter James Morris, 28 was fined £4000 for possession of child pornography in July 1997. The Police raided Morris' home in Crumlin, after a disk he left behind at a Belfast Internet cafe was found to contain child pornography. The police found images of child pornography in computer discs and also on Morris' computer's hard disk. Morris admitted getting the material off the Internet and he told the police that he had started peering at adult pornography and that the 'funny stuff' - child pornography appeared with the material he had downloaded.
Resident Magistrate Chris Milner at the Antrim Magistrates Court said that the 'spread of pornography on the Internet is a matter of public concern' and anyone found with illegal photos of children will be hit with severe penalties. He told Morris that he was lucky to escape jail. Mr Milner stated that:
'The fine reflects my own revulsion and what the public expects me to do. I am not going to hand out some platry fine of £100 or £200. It is also right and proper that people woth perverted tendencies who might get some sort of lustful satisfaction from this material should be aware that this is an offence. I think the warning should be made clearly that the mere possession of these photographs carries a custodial sentence and a very heavy fine.'
A defence lawyer for Morris stated that, 'once one opens this Pandora's box one can receive all sorts of images.' He told the court that Morris was a voyeur and not a paedophile. The child pornography had 'reviled him and completely upset him' according to the lawyer.
Karl Niklass was convicted on 3 out of an original 15 counts under s 1 of the Protection of Children Act 1978. He was originally identified from postings into a paedophiliac newsgroup by an officer in Greater Manchester Police. Subsequently a raid by Avon and Somerset Police on his parent's home produced a series of ZIP (high capacity storage) disks as well as magazines and videos. Police evidence claimed to tie in the dates of the newsgroup postings, audit trails associated with the newsgroup client software located on Niklass's hard-disk and telephone logs. Nevertheless Niklass pleaded not guilty. The defence were successful in getting 8 of the original charges severed from the indictment on the grounds that the evidence for those in relation to the s 1 charges was much weaker though the images complained of were much stronger. The balance of the charges, some 7, concerned apparent pseudo photographs and the defence said that the jury should only convict where they believed the overall effect was a realistic image of an under-age child. The jury convicted on only three.
Niklass was sentenced to 9 months in prison but an appeal on the grounds of misdirection is expected soon.
A bus driver who became obsessed with child pornography on the Internet was jailed for 12 years yesterday for corrupting and depraving young girls. William McKirdy plied the youngsters, one who was only nine, with drink and drugs before showing them pornographic pictures from the collection of 26,000 images stored on his computer. One one occasion he had sex with a 14-year-old girl in the presence of the nine-year old.
Lord Nimmo Smith told McKirdy: "As the images I have been shown demonstrate, the sexual degradation and exploitation of children is a world-wide problem. To act towards children as you have done is rightly viewed with abhorrence in our society.
McKirdy, 31, admitted a total of seven charges involving young girls, mostly committed at his home in Knockinlaw Road, Kilmarnock between August last year and January this year. He twice had unlawful sex with a 14-year-old and made indecent "pseudo-images" of three girls by superimposing their faces on obscene pictures.
His not guilty plea to having indecent pseudo-photographs with a view to them being distributed was accepted by the Crown.
The offences came to light after police attended McKirdy's house on January 30, 1998 following complaints that he was supplying under-age girls with alcohol. Police found two girls aged nine and 14 sitting on the floor of an unfurnished upstairs bedroom and they could smell alcohol on the breath of the 14-year-old.
They also detected a strong smell of cannabis and when McKirdy opened a drawer to hand over a piece of cannabis resin, the officers saw a sex aid and a pornographic picture.
McKirdy said he had other pornographic material, mostly stored on his computer and handed over eight floppy discs containing indecent images. He also gave police a CD Rom which contained pornography he had downloaded from the Internet showing young girls performing sexual acts.
Mr Gilchrist told the court that the CD Rom and the hard disk on McKirdy's computer were found to contain more than 26,000 pornographic images, although it was not possible to say which had been shown to the children. Some of the images showed not only adults and children but animals as well.
It appeared that he had begun to entertain the girls after his wife left him in about August 1997. He introduced one of them to the Internet and aroused her curiosity by explaining that it could be used to communicate with people all over the world.
She told a friend about her visits and eventually there were five girls going to the house, aged between nine and 14.
A former student of the University of Abertay Dundee, who was found in possession of indecent photographs of children on computer discs after a joint operation involving US Customs officers and Tayside Police, was sentenced at Dundee Sheriff Court yesterday.
Keith Gordon Grant (23), was effectively banned from using the Internet for three years by Sheriff James Scott as a condition of probation. Grant was snared by US Customs officers in a "sting" operation when they set up a fake website offering non-existent pornographic videos for sale. He admitted that on September 4 last year he had in his possession at his house indecent pseudo-photographs of children, namely data stored on two computer discs which were capable of conversion into pseudo-photographs.
Sheriff Scott placed him on probation for three years, imposing six conditions, including one which stated that he should not be left alone with children. A spokesman for Abertay said last night that Grant had been expelled for a gross breach of the university's guidelines on the use of the computer network, after a disciplinary hearing on October 20, and had not been allowed to graduate.
Detective Inspector Brian Weir said last night that Dundee detectives had been tipped off by US Customs agents, who had traced Grant's identity and address through a fake website.
"In July 1997 the United States Customs service began an investigation into inter-state and international trafficking of child pornography on the Internet," he explained.In the course of this inquiry Customs agents advertised bogus videos for sale depicting obscene pictures of children."They obviously had no such pictures for sale but this gave them the opportunity to communicate via the Internet with people involved in the distribution of this kind of material. As a result of this advertisement US Customs agents received an inquiry from an Internet user within the UK.By responding to this inquiry they then entered into a series of Internet exchanges with this individual in order to identify him."
DI Weir said the dialogue also revealed that the individual was believed to be in possession of obscene pictures of children.
Tayside Police were informed of the man's identity and CID officers in Dundee then continued the inquiry and subsequently arrested and charged Grant.
A judge condemned the increasing availability of Internet pornography in February 1999 as he jailed a doctor for creating a private gallery of indecent pictures. Robert Jones, 34, the head of an alternative therapy centre at Colwyn Bay, North Wales, downloaded 5,000 pornographic images on to his computer. In two cases, both involving children, he superimposed his own naked form on to the picture.
Jones, formerly of Deganwy, near Llandudno, admitted possessing and making indecent pseudo-photographs of children. He was jailed for four months and told that his name would be listed on the Sex Offenders' Register for the next seven years.
Recorder Peter Hughes, sitting at Chester Crown court, told Jones: "If there were not people like you prepared to download material of this nature it would not appear on the Internet, and innocent children who have been victims of exploitation and abuse in the most depraved manner would be better protected."
The judge said that the court could not ignore the fact that Jones had two previous convictions for indecent exposure, both involving teenagers.
An air traffic controller who abused young boys over a period of 20 years was jailed for 15 years yesterday after the largest paedophile investigation mounted by Surrey police.
Officers who raided Anthony Bridger's home near Leatherhead found indecent photographs of children and discovered more than 15,000 images of child pornography on his computer. Bridger, 52, admitted subscribing to various Internet paedophile pornography sites and gave police his codeword, Yag, pointing out it was gay spelt backwards.
Sentencing Bridger, who had earlier pleaded guilty to 39 charges of indecency and possessing indecent material involving 10 boys, Judge Richard Hawkins said he was "plainly a danger".
Susan Tapping, prosecuting, said Bridger, who had worked throughout the country, lured the boys to his home by offering them money to do gardening and household chores, gave them free cigarettes and provided beer and spirits. When police started their investigation, following a tip-off, they discovered none of the victims, who were all between eight and 16 at the time, had spoken about the abuse before.
Bridger, who had a previous conviction for indecency with a young man, admitted to police that he was a paedophile. He said to police: "It is a problem I have lived with for 25 years. I was brought up a moral, honest person. The torment caused inside is beyond belief, it is almost an explosion inside my brain."
Dr Anthony Atkins, 36, downloaded the images containing child pornography from the Internet after starting a new job in the English department at Bristol University early in October 1997.
Some of these images were found by a colleague who alerted the university authorities.
Robert Davies, prosecuting, said Atkins had wiped the computer memory before police became involved and seized a computer he had used. But investigating officers found 900 pornographic images on a computer "cache" memory, of which he was unaware. Most were of adults, but 174 concerned children and some were of a child in sexual activity with an adult.
Defence barrister Helen Malcolm said Atkins had a sociological interest in childhood development and sexuality. He had studied book history and film production and the Internet was an extension of his interests. Atkins submitted in evidence that he was researching the sociology of special groups. He could not always be sure of the kind of material being sent to him by the news groups he was investigating. He told the court that he was "shocked and disgusted" by some of the images appearing on his screen.
But magistrates fined him £3,000 after he was found guilty of 10 counts of possessing a pornographic image of a child. Stipendiary magistrate William Kennedy said: "There is no circumstance in which the retention of these images could be either necessary or justified." He said Cambridge graduate Atkins - who had won scholarships to America and had also worked at Reading University - was of exemplary character and an academic of "enormous stature". He told Atkins, who has written noted works on D.H. Lawrence and Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie: "I am sorry for you and your family to see you here today."
Atkins had referred in evidence to a Lawrence quote about a child "awakened too soon", said Mr Kennedy.
But the magistrate said: "I do not believe parliament intended the slumber of such a child should be sacrificed on the altar of peripheral knowledge." He ordered that Atkins, of Oxford, should report to police to have his name put on the Sex Offenders Register.
Atkins was dismissed from his post following an internal disciplinary inquiry.
On 13 November 1999, Gary Glitter was jailed for four months for amassing "a vast private library of child pornography". The pop star, 55, admitted downloading more than 4,000 "hard-core, sick and degrading" images of children - some as young as two - on to his laptop computer. He had spent hundreds of hours logged on to the internet searching for paedophile websites and had catalogued the images he found for his private viewing. Bristol Crown Court heard that the pictures showed boys and girls being sexually abused, tortured, bound, gagged and blindfolded. Glitter admitted to54 specimen counts of making indecent photographs of children under 16. Mr Justice Butterfield told Glitter that he was being imprisoned as a punishment and to send a message to others who satisfied their "perverted desires" by gathering child pornography. "This is not victimless crime," he said. "The victims are the little children whose images you wish to view. Without the ultimate consumer, men like you prepared to pay for this material, there would be no market for this filth.
"The potentially corrupting effect of such filthy and revolting material on those who view it is obvious. The effect on the innocent children whose bodies have been abused to satisfy the perverted tastes of men like you can hardly be imagined." The judge said the pictures he had seen were pornography "of the very worst possible type". He added: "One image showed a little girl who was seven or eight years old with her legs tied together, gagged, with her hands tied behind her back bearing the marks, real or artificial, of a savage beating. It was entitled The Lovers' Guide to Better Child Sexual Abuse."
The judge also ordered that on his release Glitter, who was tried under his real name of Paul Gadd, be placed on the Sex Offenders Register for seven years. His pornography collection is to be destroyed and he must pay £80,000 towards Crown costs. John Royce, QC, prosecuting, told the court that Glitter's paedophile library had been discovered in November 1997 when he took his Toshiba computer to PC World in Bristol for repair.
Alban Fellows, 27, of Birmingham and Stephen Arnold, 25, of Milton Keynes were charged with a total of 18 charges, under the Protection of Children Act 1978, Obscene Publications Act 1959, and the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 which widened the definition of publication to include computer transmission. Alban Fellows was jailed for three years by the trial judge who said it could have incited sexual abuse of the innocent. Mr Justice Owen told Fellows, that the sentence was intended to act as a deterrent to others considering using the computer information network to circulate pornography. Stephen Arnold, was also jailed for six months for providing Fellows with up to 30 pornographic pictures of children. (See David Graves, "Two jailed for child porn on Internet"  The Electronic Telegraph, May 25 1996).
The 3 year prison sentencing given to Fellows is the longest given in a trial involving the Internet and child pornography. The seriousness of the decision following also Crumpton's imprisonment earlier this year shows the attitude of the judges and public policy towards traffickers of child pornography and paedophiles in general.
Fellows and Arnold lost an appeal against their sentences in late September 1996. Lord Justice Evans, in the Court of Appeal, upheld the ruling of the trial judge that images stored on computer disc constitute photographs. His Lordship reviewed the terms of the 1978 Protection of Children Act and decided that although the computer disk was not a photograph it was a copy of an indecent photograph. The disk contained data, not visible to the eye, which could be converted into a print which exactly reproduced the original photograph from which it was derived. According to the Court, there was no restriction on the form of a copy of an indecent photograph within section 7(2) of the 1978 Act and the data represented the original photograph, in another form.
A more important case that led to Operation Starburst will come to the court later on this year, when Smith will be tried for the distribution of child pornography through the Internet. Smith of Sussex was the cause of Operation Starburst, and he pleads not guilty. Four other separate distribution offences will be in the courts later this year.
Simon Jackson, a computer consultant of Andover has been jailed for sending indecent photographs of young children on the Internet on September 27, 1996. Mr. Jackson, of Faberstown, Wiltshire, 32, a married man, swapped photos in a pernicious exchange with male and female contacts abroad. He was jailed for a total of four months at Swindon Crown Court.
At an earlier hearing Jackson admitted two counts of distributing indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of children under the age of 16. He also admitted to one count of possession with intent to distribute indecent photographs of young children and one count of indecent assault on a child.
In January police raided Jacksons home, where he ran a company called Silverhill Software Ltd, and found boxes of discs and two computer towers, one of which was connected to a modem and the Internet. With the help of a computer expert, material was extracted containing numerous photographs, many of which included indecent photographs of children. The age of the girls ranged from eight to 12, with some possibly younger.
Robert Bryan, defending, said there were more than 1,086 photographs on Jacksons data base of which 134 related to children. He said Jackson was a man who hasnt properly grown up. He has retained an interest in young girls in particular.
Assistant Recorder Simon Privett told Jackson:
Every picture of a child of that age is an abuse of that child. The possession and exchange of these photographs fuels the appetite so offences of this nature are practised. It is a pernicious exchange and by distributing the photographs you spread the evil around the world.
The Independent on 28 August 1996 reported that a computer technician named Robert Bickerstaffe, 48, facing charges in connection with the possession and distribution of child pornography on the Internet has been found dead in a fume-filled car near Glenridding, beside Lake Ullswater. He was on bail following a long running police surveillance operation at Liverpool University computer centre.
Father Adrian McLeish, 45, a Roman Catholic priest, t St Joseph's church in Gilesgate, Durham held the largest known collection of illicit matter yet gathered electronically. He had amassed a vast store of obscene pictures and drawings in his presbytery and exchanged thousands of explicit e-mail messages with other paedophiles. McLeish, was sentenced for six years by Newcastle upon Tyne Crown Court on the 13th of November 1996. His activities were exposed a year ago during "Operation Starburst" which identified 37 suspects worldwide. Durham Police launched their own Operation Modem after information from their counterparts in Germany which led to the raid on St Joseph's presbytery.
Police Officers seized four computers that he had built himself and began examining a huge library of disks, many of which had been erased. McLeish had two hard disks which he referred to as his "nice disk" and his "naughty disk". In the days leading up to his arrest he destroyed numerous pornographic files and a number of videotapes he had bought in Amsterdam..
McLeish admitted 12 specimen charges of indecent assaults against two boys of 10, one aged 12 and another aged 18. He also admitted distributing indecent photographs, possessing them with intent to distribute them and being involved in the importation of pornographic videos of children.
Mr Justice Moses told McLeish:
"You corrupted those children and damaged them emotionally. You, and other paedophiles like you, dangerously delude yourselves if you think there is one iota of care, affection or even thought for those children. There is none."
The police discovered that McLeish was linked to the Internet through at least four different companies and used encryption software so that his communications could not be read by anyone else. His private code was "Overhead the moon is beaming".
Miss Bolton for the prosecution stated that:
"The correspondence from his computer demonstrates he was involved in an international paedophile ring on the Internet in which he connected regularly with at least nine people in Sweden, Germany, France, New Zealand and the United States."
McLeish admitted corresponding with a German paedophile to whom he had sent indecent photographs of 14-year-old boys. But Miss Bolton said: "He was less than frank in his first interview and it was quite clear he had a deep interest in child porn, particularly in pre-pubescent boys." There was also evidence that McLeish had sent pictures of at least one of the boys he had abused and talked on the Internet of "grooming" the boy for use in later life. He had also enhanced some pictures to make them more sexually explicit.
Police have passed details of up to 20 men to the National Crime Intelligence Service's paedophile unit. They include a teacher, a doctor, a psychologist, a student and a computer expert. One also worked as a child's outfitter. A team of four policemen, led by Detective Inspector Jeff Watson, spent seven months reading thousands of pages of pornographic material from McLeish's files. Mr Watson, who has two teenage children, said he and colleagues were appalled by some of the things they discovered. "There were 2,000 pictures stored on just one high-powered disk.
In all, some 3,251 different image files containing up to 15 pictures each were recovered. The total number of image files found, including child porn, adult porn and drawings, was 8,998. A man who he regularly contacted called Don was later discovered to have committed suicide after he was arrested for his part in the network. Miss Bolton for the prosecution added that: "In the days between McLeish's arrest and him being charged he had built a new computer capable of connection to the Internet. "He also visited another priest who was on the Internet and asked if he could use his e-mail because his own computer was down and he needed to contact someone in America.
This is the first time a direct link between child abuse and the use of the Internet has been established. He was mainly charged with the abuse offences but the use of the Internet for distribution of these images (involving also pseudo-photographs) made his sentence longer. He was involved in an international ring of paedophiles and the UK police is inestigating the others involved together with other police forces around the world.
This case once again proves that the UK police is active and combats this kind of illegal content on the Internet. The number of cases involving child pornography and the Internet is growing and all the above cases show that it has been a busy year for the UK police. There will be more cases coming and watch this space for more information.
Christopher Wells, 27, was jailed for 2 years on the 13th of December, 1996 at Birmingham Crown Court after he had admitted distributing child pornography on the Internet. Wells, of Lawling Avenue, Maldon, in Essex, had more than 110 pictures stored in his computer systems and admitted possessing indecent photographs of children and distributing them between March - August 1996.
Graham Fitchie, 37, of Merstham, Surrey, was jailed for 3 years by the Guildford Crown Court in July 1997. Fitchie had 10,751 pictures, 81 films and more than 500 pages of stories about child-sex stored on computer hard disks and CD drives. A paedophile serving a six-year jail sentence led police to a pornographer who appeared to be the respectable employee of a school publishing company. The prisoner had been found with a video showing an indecent assault on a boy of 11. From his cell, he gave detectives the name of Graham Fitchie as the man who had filmed and taken part in the assault.
According to the media the police discovered the biggest collection of Internet pornography found in Britain in Fitchie's home. According to the prosecutio Fitchie had built up a network of other paedophiles he was distributing the pornography to.
Fitchie pleaded guilty to sending obscene photographs and films via the Internet and to indecently assaulting the 11-year-old boy in the original film. He was jailed for three years after Judge John Bull told him there was "growing international revulsion" at the use of the Internet by paedophiles. The judge also stated that:
"I am driven to believe that you represent a serious and significant danger to young children in the future."
The court was told that for more than a year Fitchie had been distributing the pornography, most of it involving young boys. He said Fitchie's material could be accessed by paedophiles around the world who knew a secret password.
Grant Armstrong, defending, said Fitchie was "extremely well thought of by his employers" who indicated that they would readily hire him again. "He owns his own property and is regarded as an ordinary member of the community". After the case, Det Con Alex Lynn, of Surrey police, said detectives were using Fitchie's computer records to try to trace other paedophiles around the world.
R v Jonathan Bowden (1999), CA (Otton LJ, Smith J, Collins J) 10/11/99 Summary: The downloading and/or printing out of computer data of indecent images of children from the Internet was capable of amounting to an offence within the meaning of s.1(1)(a) Protection of Children Act 1978. See further the BBC Online Story, "Key ruling on net child porn," November 10, 1999 in relation to this judgment.