February 2012

Man jailed for having thousands of indecent images

AN IT consultant has been jailed for 13 months for possessing more than 9,000 indecent images of children.

Jothi Param, of The Mount in Guildford, admitted to 25 counts of having the images, which featured babies as young as six months old.

Guildford Crown Court heard on Thursday (February 2) that the pictures and videos were found after police searched Param’s home last January.

He was arrested following an international investigation which focused on internet forums used to distribute indecent images.

The 55-year-old initially denied downloading the content when interviewed by police but then pleaded guilty at an earlier court hearing last summer.

Judge Neil Stewart told the defendant that by accessing the images he was “encouraging the abuse” of children.

Rachel Davies, prosecuting, said a large number of pictures featured prepubescent girls, some images were of boys, and that most of the youngsters were between the ages of five and 11.

She added: “He said he stumbled across links on websites which connected to the material and denied having deliberately searched images but admitted visiting them once a week since he first came across them.”He categorically denied having any sexual interest in children or that he became sexually aroused by the images.”

In total, 9,317 images were found on a computer and on an external hard drive, 8,747 of which were in the least severe level one category. Around 400 images fell into level two and three, 166 images were classed as level four and four images were in the most serious category of level five.

There was no evidence that the defendant distributed the images, which were first downloaded in February 2009 and saved to the hard drive in October 2010.

Param, who was born in Malaysia and brought up in an orphanage, moved to England in 1976 where he gained academic qualifications. He has worked as a consultant for major companies and mentors adults who are setting up their own businesses.

Barbara Down, defending Param, said he had a “life to be proud of” before his arrest.

“I think it’s right to say that it’s taken Mr Param time to come to terms with what has happened,” she said.

“He has risked everything and will possibly lose everything as a result of these offences. He has, and I think it’s right to say, devastated his wife by these offences.”

She asked the judge to pass a suspended sentence, taking into consideration the fact that Param had a heart attack three years ago and suffers from severe sleep apnoea so would not cope well in custody.

But in sentencing Param, Judge Stewart said “it is not an appropriate case for a suspended sentence”.

He added: “The total number of images is large with a substantial quantity of level four. Some of these images required prepubescent girls, some involved were very young children, even babies.

“Just reciting those facts reveals how serious these offences are. You provide the market for these images, encouraging the abuse of children that is involved in it.

“Whether you have a sexual gratification or not, it doesn’t alter the damage done to the children.

“I’m not convinced you have fully come to terms with your culpability as far as these matters are concerned.

“I regard this case as being aggravated by the age of some of the children, by the fact that you have significant computer skills that you have used by downloading this material and your persistence in visiting websites over a period of time.”

Judge Stewart said the defendant initially “tried to get away with it” when interviewed by police, but said he would give some credit to Param for his guilty plea, thereby reducing an 18-month jail term to 13 months.

Param will also be placed under the terms of a sexual offences prevention order for 10 years, which restricts his contact with children under 16 and the use of the internet.