March 2018

Judges warn about reality of abuse behind indecent images

TWO judges spoke out yesterday about the reality of abuse suffered by children in cases involving possession of indecent images.

Judge David McFarland and Judge Geoffrey Miller were dealing separately with two cases at Belfast Crown Court.

Judge McFarland sentenced 47-year-old George Wilson, of Ballylough Road, Castlewellan, to three years’ probation and ordered him to complete 100 hours of community service.

The father-of-three, who told police he started off watching adult pornography but had then “gone the wrong way”, had just under 30 indecent images, mostly in the least serious category ‘C’.

The judge said it was important to realise “we are not just talking about images, we are talking about real people, dealing with real abuse and dealing with the most appalling evil perpetrated against young people”.

Defence barrister Sean O’Hare said that Wilson was a man “previously held in very high regard” but who now “has lost that good name” and has been forced to resign from his church committee and choir.

Judge Miller was dealing with a more serious case of a 32-year-old illegal immigrant who had almost 400 images and also admitted paying a teenager to have sex with him.

Jailing Rabin Thapa for three years, he said an aggravating feature was the range and number of indecent images on his computer, the majority involving prepubescent children and many in the most serious category ‘A’.

He said that Thapa by “propagating and distributing such material bears his share of responsibility for this evil trade, which has brought untold horror to the child victims whose lives have been corrupted and devastated by those who have destroyed their innocence by forcing them to engage in these unspeakable acts”.

Defence QC Patrick Lyttle said Thapa, whose father died in an earthquake in Nepal, had shown a sense of remorse.

If not deported back to the country on his release he will serve an additional three years on supervised licensed parole.