September 2020

Scots perv has computer ban relaxed as playing online poker keeps him calm

A sex offender has had his computer ban relaxed – so he can play online games to stay calm.

Martin Florence, 44, was placed on a sex offender prevention order after admitting to possessing hundreds of indecent images of children and breaching his bail conditions.

This prohibits him from owning or using computer equipment or downloading applications without the prior permission of supervising officers.

But when a court heard that he often gets anxious and needs to play games to remain calm, he was allowed to continue playing the fantasy game Heroes of Heartland and poker online .

Sheriff Alastair Carmichael said he would allow him to carry on playing the two games only but he must comply with the order he was placing him on in terms of any other software.

The Dundee Sheriff Court heard how police went to Florence’s home after receiving information that indecent images had been downloaded to a computer at the premises.

Two devices were seized and on examination they were found to contain a total of 341 images and five videos of children between the ages of six and 14.

Florence, who was employed as a taxi driver in Forfar at the time, admitted that between August 4 2016 and December 5 2018 at Westfield, Kirriemuir, he took or permitted to be taken indecent photographs or pseudo photographs of children.

He also admitted breaching a bail condition between December 7 and 11 2018 at the same address, by possessing an Amazon Fire without advising the police.

Sheriff Carmichael told Florence: “These were serious offences but the number of images was not high fortunately.

“It is in the zone of a custodial sentence but I am satisfied I can go down a non-custodial disposal route.”

He said he would also take into account the terms of the psychiatric and social work reports and placed Florence on a community payback order under supervision for three years with the programme requirement to take part in the Moving Foward Making Changes programme and a drug treatment order.

He also imposed a conduct requirement covering the usage of computer equipment and software, telling him he must seek the prior permission from supervising officers before owning or downloading devices and software.

He warned Florence: “This is a direct alternative to prison.”