Saturday, 13 February 2016

Barrow photographer had child pornography

A MAN who admitted downloading child porn insisted he had no intention of looking at the images, a court heard.

DEFENDANT: Patrick Benson arriving for a hearing at Lancaster Crown Court MILTON HAWORTH REF: 50041106B004

Patrick Benson, 44, from Barrow, appeared in Lancaster Crown Court yesterday after spending more than two years on bail while police investigated the charges against him.

Benson, a photographer, had a computer tower, laptop and memory stick seized by police from his home address in Caledonian Close, Barrow, and his shop in Rawlinson Street in March 2010, the court heard.

The items contained indecent images of children, which had been downloaded while Benson was using the file sharing website The Pirate Bay.

The Pirate Bay allows people to access so-called “torrents” that let multiple users share a large amount of files.

Defence counsel David Traynor told the court Benson had accessed the torrents to find adult pornography.

Mr Traynor said Benson was unaware he was downloading images of children at the same time.

He was made aware of this when he was interviewed by police who seized his computers.

However, a year-and-a-half later police again seized three hard drives and a computer tower from Benson, which also contained images of children.

Mr Traynor said although Benson had “no interest in viewing images of children” he had continued using torrents to obtain adult pornography, despite being aware this may also lead him to download illegal material.

“There is no evidence he ever specifically viewed any of those images,” Mr Traynor said.

Benson pleaded guilty to six charges of making indecent images of children, by downloading them, on the basis he had been aware of the “risk” of doing so, Mr Traynor said.

The charges all related to images downloaded in July and September 2011 of children aged between 13 and 15.

Prosecution barrister Mr Arthur Gibson said it was not possible to prove Benson deliberately set out to find the images or ever looked at them.

Judge Tony Lancaster postponed sentencing until November for a probation report to be completed.

He said: “These are young, vulnerable girls, who are having indecent photographs taken of them and in that way they are abused and by downloading them that just perpetuates the abuse and someone somewhere is probably making a huge amount of money from this.”

However, he said what the court had heard implied “the least amount of wickedness on (Benson’s) part”.

He added he would not impose a prison sentence when Benson appeared for sentence at Lancaster Crown Court on November 15.

However, Benson will automatically have to sign onto the Sex Offenders’ Register.


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