June 2017

Judge criticises delays which see pervert brought before court 

A judge has criticised the delay in bringing the case of a Suffolk man accused of downloading child porn to court after hearing that police went to his home and seized his laptop computer 18 months ago.

Judge John Devaux said delays in cases coming to court was “increasingly a problem” and said it made sentencing defendants appropriately more difficult.

“It is a problem that applies to this sort of case where computers are involved, but we are beginning to notice across the board that there seems to be an increase in delays in many cases where we wouldn’t have expected them in the past,” said the judge.

He said he suspected a lack of resources to interrogate computer equipment was to blame.

Before Ipswich Crown court was Noel Hunt, 39, of Robin Walk, Brandon, who admitted three offences of downloading indecent images of children between 2013 and 2015.

Sentencing him to a six-month jail sentence, suspended for 18 months, Judge Devaux said Hunt had admitted the offences at the earliest opportunity and there were a relatively small number of images involved.

“I’m concerned that the case is now 18 months old and didn’t appear before a magistrates’ court until it was 16 months old,” he said.

In addition to the suspended sentence, Hunt was given a 45-day rehabilitation activity requirement and ordered to pay £450 costs.

He was also made the subject of a five-year sexual harm prevention order and ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for ten years.

Russell Butcher, prosecuting, said officers went to Robin Walk, Brandon on December 22, 2015 and seized a black laptop.

When it was analysed it was found to have 17 images in the most serious level A category, 19 level B images and 31 in the lowest C category.

Neil Saunders, for Hunt, said his client had no previous convictions and had told him he had been repeatedly re-bailed by the police while his computer was interrogated.

He said that as a result of the offences Hunt’s marriage had ended and he had lost contact with one of his two daughters.