March 2021

Pervert accessed over 10,000 indecent images of children

A 40-year old Co Down man accessed over 10,000 indecent images of children whilst working shifts at a hostel for the homeless in Belfast, a court has heard.

Michael Ross Magee, from Ardenlee Gardens in Downpatrick, admitted 15 separate counts of making indecent images in September 2018.

Downpatrick Crown Court Judge, Geoffery Miller QC, imposed a combination order consisting of 100 hours community service and two years probation – and warned Magee that any breaches of the Order would lead to immediate custody.

Magee’s offending emerged when his home was searched on October 3, 2018. A number of digital devices were removed and examined, including his laptop which was found in his rucksack.

Judge Miller said that when this laptop was examined, a total of 10,726 indecent images and videos of children were located in various files.

At the time, Magee was employed by Northern Ireland Housing Executive and worked eight-hour shifts at a homeless hostel.

When the laptop was examined and times and dates of the images accessed and files created were checked, it indicated Magee had been viewing and downloading the material whilst at work.

Judge Miller said that as a result of the offending during September 2018, Magee was suspended from his job and the relationship with the mother of his child ended.

The Judge said Magee had offered “little or no explanation” about his motivation for accessing the material and claimed the images were ‘unwittingly’ downloaded onto his laptop whilst watching non-sexual films.

He added: “Nevertheless, howsoever the material got there, it is readily apparent that he chose to retain it and indeed view it and review it on later occasion.

“Furthermore he took no steps to move the files from his computer or report what had been downloaded to the appropriate authorities.”

It was accepted by the Judge that Magee had expressed genuine remorse for his actions, and that probation had deemed him as a low risk of re-offending.

Judge Miller told Magee he will be “closely monitored” for the next two years and warned he would have “no hesitation” in revoking the order and sending him to prison if there were any breaches.