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Supreme Court increases man’s sentence for child porn

The Supreme Court added another year to the jail sentence handed down to a man convicted of child pornography after finding that the four-year term imposed for offences involving children under 13 was ‘clearly inadequate’, the Cyprus News Agency reported on Monday.

The man had pleaded guilty to 17 charges of possessing child pornography, two of which concerned children under 13. Limassol Criminal Court handed down jail sentences, the maximum of which was for four years, to run concurrently.

Police had searched his house in October 2016 after receiving a tip-off from Interpol regarding a specific IP address and taken away computers and hard discs on which they found 3,237 photographs with child porn, 228 of which with children under 13, and 319 hours of video, 73 hours of which with children under 13 involved in sexual acts.

The Criminal Court noted that 143 photos were registered on Interpol’s data base as featuring victims of sexual exploitation abroad. Moreover, there were 537 visits to the webpage between August and November 2016, from which 437 photos were downloaded. There were visits too to chat rooms with different names that point to child porn material.

Keywords used by the defendant to search child porn and well as bookmarks on his search engine were also linked to child porn. He told investigators that he had his own account for the specific webpage which he paid a subscription to and that he also carried out searches on Google. He also showed them links he had stored for chatrooms on a platform where child porn was exchanged.

The attorney-general’s office had appealed the sentence as inadequate both as regards children over and children under 13. It cited the spike in child abuse cases and said the court had given excessive weight to mitigating factors such as the defendant’s admission and his participation in a personalised programme.

In its decision, the supreme court said that based on the volume of the material and the fact that a significant part involves children under 13, this was one of most serious child porn possession cases to go to trial.

The criminal court’s verbal reference to the seriousness of the offences is not reflected in the penalties for the offences concerning children under 13 as it raised the jail time from four to five years.

 

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