Jail warn­ing to se­rial of­fender over child sex abuse im­ages

Belfast Telegraph - - NEWS - BY ASH­LEIGH McDON­ALD

A 62-YEAR-OLD man has been told that if he ac­cesses im­ages on the in­ter­net of chil­dren be­ing sex­u­ally abused again he will be sent to prison.

John Flynn, from Univer­sity Street in Belfast, who ap­peared be­fore Belfast Crown Court with 78 pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions, ad­mit­ted two counts of breach­ing a Sex­ual Of­fences Pre­ven­tion Or­der (Sopo) and 14 counts of pos­sess­ing an in­de­cent image of a child.

He was handed a two-year prison sen­tence that was sus­pended for three years by Judge Ge­of­frey Miller.

Urg­ing Flynn to con­tinue en­gag­ing with agen­cies and at­tend­ing cour­ses de­signed to ad­dress his of­fend­ing, Judge Miller told him: “You are an in­tel­li­gent man who knows what your is­sues are and you know how to ad­dress them.

“This is your fi­nal op­por­tu­nity to ad­dress these is­sues.”

A Crown prosecutor ex­plained the Sopo was ini­tially im­posed in Novem­ber 2011, ban­ning Flynn from delet­ing his in­ter­net usage his­tory and from own­ing or us­ing a mo­bile phone that had in­ter­net ac­cess with­out the ap­proval of a des­ig­nated risk man­ager (DRM).

In Jan­u­ary 2016, po­lice dis­cov­ered a lap­top at Flynn’s ad­dress but were un­able to find an in­ter­net ac­cess his­tory. They later un­cov­ered a to­tal of 15 in­de­cent im­ages of chil­dren on the de­vice and searches which were “in­dica­tive of an in­ter­est in chil­dren or im­ages of child abuse”.

In June last year, of­fi­cers seized a mo­bile phone and tablet dur­ing another ran­dom check at Flynn’s home.

When he was ar­rested, Flynn ad­mit­ted he should have in­formed his DRM about the de­vices. He ini­tially de­nied ac­cess­ing child porn and in­stead claimed the im­ages had popped up when he was search­ing for adult porn.

A de­fence lawyer said Flynn’s of­fend­ing has “greatly dis­si­pated”, es­pe­cially since he is “well mon­i­tored and reg­u­lated”.

He told the court Flynn has ex­pe­ri­enced the loss of his fam­ily due to the na­ture of his of­fend­ing, but pointed out he is cur­rently en­gaged with agen­cies and “has sought help from church groups”.

Pass­ing sen­tence, Judge Miller said Flynn ap­peared in court with “no ex­cuse for not ap­pre­ci­at­ing the con­se­quences of his actions” and ap­peared to dis­play a “sex­ual en­ti­tle­ment at­ti­tude”.

The judge also noted the “se­ri­ous abuse” of the chil­dren in the im­ages, adding the “pain, dis­com­fort and fear suf­fered by the chil­dren” was for the “per­verted pleasure” of those look­ing at the ma­te­rial.

Hand­ing Flynn the two-year sen­tence sus­pended for three years, Judge Miller warned him that if he of­fends within that time, he would be sent to prison.

John Flynn at Belfast Crown Court af­ter sen­tenc­ing

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