October 2015

Judge says man caught with indecent pictures of children already been punished by court case wait

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A merciful judge said a man caught with indecent pictures of children had already been punished in the wait for his court case.

Gary Smiley, 41, will be on the sex offenders’ register for seven years after 55 child abuse images were found on his laptop.

The illegal pictures showed children “in sexual poses of varying seriousness”, said Judge Howard Crowson today.

Police seized Smiley’s computer from the dining room table of his home in Hemlington, Middlesbrough, on the morning of February 16, 2013.

It contained 55 indecent pictures of children downloaded from the internet – 30 at the least serious level in law, the others in more severe categories.

Prosecutor Harry Hadfield said the images were thumbnails of pictures which had been downloaded then deleted.

A forensic examination revealed file titles which were typical of such indecent pictures,Teesside Crown Court heard.

When interviewed by police, Smiley said he had accessed adult porn sites and teenage pornography “out of curiosity”.

He could not explain how or why the pictures of children got there.

Smiley, of Runnymede, Nunthorpe, Middlesbrough, today admitted one count of making indecent photographs of children.

Aisha Wadoodi, defending, said of the number of images: “Compared to most of the cases before your Honour, it’s a very small amount.

“This case has been hanging over him for a long time.”

She told how the case had been delayed over the last two-and-a-half years for Smiley, a married working man of previous good character.

Judge Crowson told Smiley: “It’s been a long time getting to this stage.

“I know it’s been a growing stress upon you. I accept that.

“You’ve waited so long and kept out of trouble.”

Taking into account Smiley’s guilty plea and personal circumstances, he passed a 21-week prison sentence suspended for one year.

He said he would usually include a “punitive element” to the sentence.

But he decided not to do so, taking an “unusual” and “merciful” course after looking at his record of the case.

“It has had a difficult history and it’s not your fault,” added the judge.

“You have nevertheless appeared and been prepared for trial on a number of occasions. It is I know a source of great stress.

“There is a punitive element to that. The delay in this was outside your control.”

He did not make a sexual harm prevention order as he did not think the case met the criteria to protect the public from sexual harm.

Smiley was ordered to pay £500 costs.