August 2013

Convicted sex offender who viewed indecent images of children cleared of ban breach at cake contest

Martin-Firth

A registered sex offender accused of illegally speaking to children at a school cake contest has been found not guilty.

Martin Firth, 65, walked free from Chesterfield magistrates’ court on Wednesday after being acquitted by JPs.

He denied the charge at a previous hearing last month.

Mr Firth was convicted of possessing and making indecent images of youngsters in 2008.

He was jailed and slapped with a Sexual Offences Prevention Order which included a ban on him communicating with children.

Bill Taylor, prosecuting, told the court that Mr Firth allegedly breached that order during a cake competition at Winster Primary School last July.

However, prosecution witness Susan Tomlinson, the school’s former headteacher, admitted she could not be absolutely sure if Mr Firth did speak to any youngsters at the event.

She said: “I would say he did communicate with children – although I can’t remember.”

John Bunting, defending, told JPs: “Mrs Tomlinson can’t be sure that Mr Firth communicated with children.

“If she can’t be sure then you can’t be sure.”

Magistrates acquitted Mr Firth, saying: “The witness cannot be absolutely sure that you spoke to children.

“Therefore, no reasonable bench can convict you of this offence.”

Mr Firth, of Melbourne Road, Bristol, thanked JPs as he left the court.

January 2013

Man sentenced for breach of Sexual Offences Prevention Order

A man was sentenced for breaching a Sexual Offences Prevention Order when he appeared at Chesterfield Magistrates’ Court yesterday (Monday January 7).

Martin Firth, who lives in Winster and Bristol, was given a 12 month community order, required to perform 150 hours of unpaid work and has to pay costs of £650.

He is a registered sex offender as a result of being found guilty at Taunton Crown Court on December 8 2008 of making and possessing indecent images of children.

He received an eight month prison sentence and was made the subject of an extensive Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO). Two of the conditions are that he should not:

Undertake or apply for any work paid or voluntary which would bring him into contact with persons under the age of 16 years unless supervised by another adult who is not themselves subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order and who is aware of this order and the conviction giving rise to it.

Join or apply to join any club or organisation which would bring him into contact with persons under the age of 16 years unless supervised by another adult who is not themselves subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order and who is aware of this order and the conviction giving rise to it.

He was found guilty of breaching the SOPO by playing the organ at a church in Winster, one in Darley Dale and another in South Darley.

Police have taken the unusual step of releasing a photograph of Martin Firth in an attempt to ensure there are no further breaches of the SOPO.