Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Dozens More Net Perverts Set Free

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Dozens More Net Perverts Set Free

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID TAYLOR

DOZENS of internet paedophiles in London are being "set free" by the courts and hundreds are escaping arrest altogether.

An internal report for the probation service, which has been handed to the Evening Standard, says that even when police succeed in getting evidence against the men, the justice system is failing to deal with them properly.

It details eight separate cases involving men in the capital who have been convicted but given trivial sentences for downloading and distributing child pornography. They include a 50-year-old father of two given a community sentence, one man given 80 hours community service and a man caught with more than 5,000 images of children being abused who was sentenced to three years probation.

The fears emerged today following the outrage over the short sentences handed to seven men involved in the Wonderland child porn case.

One of the men, who were all involved in a sickening internet trade in pornographic pictures of children, including babies, could be free in as little as six months and none will serve longer than 18 months.

But while courts continue to hand down short sentences, there is almost no chance of offenders being put through sex offender treatment programmes, which make them confront the enormity of their crimes and are shown to have an impact in turning people away from sex crimes.

The study, which profiles a dozen cases involving internet child pornography, warns that there is "an overwhelming case for in-depth education and training for all criminal justice professionals" amid concerns that the courts are failing to grasp the serious nature of the crimes. Harry Fletcher, assistant general secretary of the National Association of Probation Officers, has compiled the briefing and warns that probation staff supervising some of the convicted offenders are convinced they are dealing with potentially dangerous men who will turn their fantasies into reality and graduate to sexual abuse of children. …

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