Ex-prison of­fi­cial is spared jail for im­ages

The Herald - - NEWS -

A FOR­MER se­nior prison ser­vice of­fi­cial who kept more than 22,000 im­ages of child abuse for a decade has been spared jail be­cause he did not down­load them.

Gor­don Pike, 55, who re­tired as Trade Union Side Sec­re­tary for the Scot­tish Prison Ser­vice (SPS) last year, had the il­le­gal im­ages at home in Ersk­ine, Ren­frew­shire.

He was ar­rested by po­lice at the SPS’s head­quar­ters in Ed­in­burgh.

Pike, 55, claimed he had un­wit­tingly taken them home in a holdall that he thought was filled with gay porn from an LGBT or­gan­i­sa­tion of which he was a mem­ber.

When he ap­peared at Pais­ley Sher­iff Court yes­ter­day af­ter pled guilty to the of­fence un­der the Civic Gov­ern­ment Scot­land Act, Pike could have been jailed for up to five years.

How­ever, Sher­iff Su­san Sin­clair said the fact he had not down­loaded the im­ages was a sig­nif­i­cant mit­i­ga­tion and or­dered him to carry out 240 hours’ un­paid work,

She said: “Had you down­loaded the sig­nif­i­cant amount of im­ages found in your pos­ses­sion, you would have been fac­ing a sig­nif­i­cant pe­riod of im­pris­on­ment.

“Ev­ery child in an in­de­cent im­age is, some­where in the world, be­ing abused for the grat­i­fi­ca­tion of an adult.

“The im­ages con­cerned came into your pos­ses­sion un­in­ten­tion­ally.”

She said that Pike’s “crime” was that he sus­pected some of the tapes and discs in the holdall con­tained in­de­cent im­ages of chil­dren.

The sher­iff added: “You held on to it for 10 years and that could never be con­sid­ered a rea­son­able pe­riod of time. But it is sig­nif­i­cant mit­i­ga­tion.

“I con­sider a di­rect al­ter­na­tive to im­pris­on­ment is ap­pro­pri­ate in your case.”

Sen­tence on Pike, who had worked at Bar­lin­nie Prison in Glasgow for 23 years, was de­ferred from last month when procu­ra­tor fis­cal de­pute Alan Par­fery said that computing equip­ment and discs were found dur­ing a search of Pike’s home in Fe­bru­ary 2016.

A re­view of his lap­top and hard drive showed no ev­i­dence he had searched for or viewed child porn on the de­vices.

But a to­tal of 45 discs were found in his home, con­tain­ing more than 22,000 in­de­cent im­ages.

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