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YA overturns court ruling to name and shame paedophile
Thursday, 07 June 2012
YELLOW Advertiser has overturned a court ruling which prevented the identification of a paedophile who downloaded more than 100,000 indecent images of children.
Stephen Grace, 37, of Claremont Road, Basildon, pleaded guilty at Basildon Crown Court to seven counts of making indecent images of children.
But a magistrate’s court ruling prevented the publication of his address.
The decision would have prevented any coverage of Grace’s case because the YA could have faced libel action from anyone who shared the defendant’s name.
However, the YA addressed presiding Judge John Lodge in open court and asked him to lift the ban.
Grace’s barrister Richard Burrington argued that Grace lived with his parents, who could suffer from the publication of their address.
But Judge Lodge dismissed the argument, telling Mr Burrington that he was effectively arguing for a blanket ban on the reporting of any case in which a sex offender did not live alone.
Grace’s home was raided on September 26, 2011, after his computer was found to have accessed a website containing indecent images of children.
Police found more than 100,000 indecent images of children on a computer, two hard drives and three portable USB storage devices in Grace’s bedroom.
The bulk of the images were found on the computer, which contained 103,423 images of ‘young children’.
More than 400 images on the computer were level five – depicting the most sickening level of abuse – and almost 4,000 were level four.
The computer also contained moving images, which spanned levels one to five.
Judge Lodge told Grace: “People like you use such images. Once you use such images, children are abused so images can be created.”
He told Grace he would be spared jail because a community order would allow for a far longer monitoring period.
Dismissing the recommended 12-month prison sentence, he said: “For six months, children will be protected – and thereafter they will not.”
Instead, he handed Grace a three-year community order with three years of supervision and an order to attend a sex offenders’ treatment programme.
He told Grace he would have to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for five years and would be subject to a sexual offences prevention order for the same period.
He told Grace the public should not have to pick up the tab for his prosecution and ordered him to pay £530 in costs.
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