May 2011

Judge gags facts in paedo hearing

A JUDGE refused to hear details of a paedophile’s crime in open court despite it already being in the public domain.

Deputy district judge Timothy Gascoyne refused to hear from the Crown Prosecution Service and cut off the defence before they could speak as he presided over the sentencing of Andrew Foote at Worcester Magistrates Court.

Foote – a 59-year-old who used to live in Worcester but now lives in Shuckburgh Road, Napton, near Southam in Warwickshire – had previously pleaded guilty to making and distributing indecent images of children.

Police discovered 49 images on Foote’s computer – 40 at level one, seven at level two and two at level four – made between November 1, 2009, and July 12 last year.

Police also found an e-mail Foote sent of an image of boys, aged 12 and 14, on February 16 last year.

Your Worcester News previously reported Liam Finch, prosecuting at Worcester Magistrates Court in April, said: “There’s a small number of images. The majority are at the lower level.

“There are only two of the higher level. There’s minor distribution in the sense that one e-mail only was sent. It puts him towards the lower end of offending of this nature.”

But on this occasion Mr Gascoyne refused to have any of the details discussed.

“The charges speak for themselves,” he said. “I think it is unnecessary to discuss them in open court.”

He sentenced Foote to a three-year community order, with a supervision requirement, and ordered to complete a sex offenders programme. Foote cannot have any contact – unless approved – with under-18s and must sign on to the sex offenders register.

Foote had previously only ever had a drink-driving conviction on his record.

At the time, he was used as an example of the success of the drink-driving course offered to those caught driving over the limit.

He said then: “I’ve never been in trouble with the police in my life. I felt like I’d committed mass murder.”