April 2021

Belfast man avoids jail over attempting to possess indecent image of a child

A north Belfast man who attempted to possess an indecent image of a child was spared an immediate period in jail today.

Jonathan Evans appeared at Belfast Crown Court via a videolink with his solicitor’s office, where he was handed a 12-month sentence.

Judge Donna McColgan QC suspended the sentence for two years and informed Evans he will be on the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years.

The 36-year old, from Mill Valley Drive, admitted a single count of attempting to possess an indecent image of a child on July 31, 2016.

Noting the offence was almost five years old, Judge McColgan said the charge was brought following a conversation between Evans and a man in England who was under a police investigation at the time.

Judge McColgan said that whilst this conversation was “extremely disturbing” and “based upon fiction”, it was also “sexually explicit and graphic”.

She added that when Evans computer equipment was seized and examined as a result of this conversation, there were no indecent images of children found – hence why the charge was one of attempting to possess an indecent image as opposed to an actual possession charge.

Judge McColgan said she had taken into account defence submissions including the delay in bringing the case to court, Evans completely clear criminal record and the genuine remorse and regret he has displayed since the incident in July 2016.

The Judge said that whilst the custody threshold has been passed, she was prepared to suspend the sentence. She then addressed Evans and told him: “If you do not offend within the next two years, then that’s the end of that.

“If however you offend within the next two years, you will serve the 12 months that I’m now suspending for a period of two years. Do you understand that?”

Evans confirmed he did and said “thank you, Your Honour.”