Extreme pornographic images found on the phone of a 37-year-old man had been sent to him as a joke by friends, Banbridge Magistrates Court heard last Thursday.
James Smyth, Poyntzpass Road, Loughbrickland, at an earlier court pleaded to guilty to six charges of possession of an extreme pornographic image on February 16, 2014. District Judge Benita Boyd imposed a one year probation order.
A public prosecutor said that while investigating another matter police had reason to examine the defendant’s phone.
They found six video images of extreme pornography involving animals and people and the defendant was arrested. During interview Smyth said he had been sent them via WhatsApp.
The prosecutor said there was no suggestion that the defendant had asked for them to be sent to him and the prosecution case was that they were not for sexual gratification but simply they were on the phone.
A barrister representing the defendant said that at first looking at the charges they appear to be very serious and would give concern as to whether he represented any sort of threat.
He added that these images were sent to Smyth by other persons and he had not requested them. What he should have done was immediately delete them.
The barrister explained that Smyth’s vehicle was stolen and was involved in some serious offences which did not involve him in any way.
Police found his mobile phone in the vehicle and a search of the phone uncovered the deleted images. Smyth had been sent the images in December and they were deleted in January.
The barrister said he had spoken to the investigating officer in the case and he did not consider the defendant to be any kind of sexual deviant.
“He took too long to delete the images which had been sent by friends as a joke,” he added.
The lawyer said Smyth was a jockey by trade, a hard working man of good character and from a good family. He added that the case had already been reported in the media and the defendant had been shamed publically. He had lost his job and suffered a ‘world of horrors’.
“It was poor judgment on his part not to delete these messages,” said the barrister.