Man cleared over indecent child images

Published Tuesday, 20 May 2014
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A Belfast man who didn't know his computer held images of child sex abuse and extreme pornography, has been cleared of possessing over 600 indecent images found on his laptop.

Man cleared over indecent child images
The man was cleared of the charges against him. (© UTV)

Andrew Haskins was acquitted of 20 charges involving internet pornography on the direction of Judge Paul Ramsey QC after prosecutor Rosemary Walsh offered no evidence against him following discussions between defence and Crown computer experts.

Judge Ramsey told the Belfast Crown Court jury of seven women and five men, in the circumstances, to find Haskins "not guilty".

Following the acquittal defence lawyer Mark Farrell applied for his client to be freed as he faced no further charges in the Crown or any other court.

On Monday, when the trial opened the court heard when police seized the computer in December 2012, it would have been "impossible" for anyone, save for an expert using specialist computer software, to have accessed any of the indecent photographs or movies.

It was also accepted that Haskins, from Ardlea Park in the east of the city, had not been "deliberately searching" for pictures or movies of children being sexually abused on the internet, and that there was "no evidence" the laptop itself had been "deliberately" used to trawl the world wide web for child images, or extreme pornography sites.

During two interviews Haskins denied ever seeing any of the images on his computer, although he accepted that he did search the internet for adult pornography.

He also claimed that over the years he had lived in various flats, with other men, and they and others had access to and may have used his laptop.

© UTV News
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