Northern Ireland

Londonderry judge declines abuse images viewing

A judge told a prosecution barrister at Londonderry Crown Court he had no wish to view files containing indecent images of children being abused.

Judge Philip Babbington made the comment during the arraignment of an autistic man charged with 21 counts of making indecent images of children.

Mark Henry, 32, from Piney Hill in Magherafelt, admitted the 21 charges.

He also admitted to possessing an indecent image of a child with a view to distributing or showing it.

Henry committed the offences between August 2010 and July 2011.

Defence counsel told Judge Babbington that Henry downloaded 1,526 moving images from a file sharing website onto his computer.

He said that police had examined a portion of the images and found that 58% of them were of the second highest level of category four.

He said Henry, who is autistic and has cerebral palsy, was extremely socially isolated and had contact only with his mother.

Both the prosecution and defence barristers then told Judge Babbington that there was an agreement between them in terms of the categorisation of the images.

When it was suggested to Judge Babbington by the prosecution barrister that he might want to view a sample of the images before sentencing Henry, the judge declined to do so.

"I will not intervene if the categorisation is accepted. I do not wish to see these images," he said.

Judge Babbington then ordered the preparation of a pre-sentence report and said he would sentence Henry on 20 August.

In the meantime, Henry was released on continuing bail.