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Man sentenced for "abhorrent" stash of indecent images

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Friday 16 October 2020

Man sentenced for "abhorrent" stash of indecent images


A 52-year-old man has been sentenced to four months in prison after police found 171 indecent images of children on his computer and external hard drives.

Officers searched Ian Gordon Robert Falla's home address on 16 June and found images of children under the age of 16 on a number of electronic devices.

Falla had been accessing indecent images "for about 10 years" and said he knew it was illegal. 

He had a solitary lifestyle and often communicated with younger people via online chatrooms. He said he believed the Category C images in his possession were of "older children". He said he had started looking at them "out of curiosity".

Defence Advocate Chris Green said his client had been "very honest and frank" with both police and the probation service throughout the investigation.

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Pictured: The images all fell into Category C - erotic posing without any sexual activity. 

He urged the Magistrate's Court to follow the recommendation of the pre-sentencing report by handing Falla a probation order, rather than a term of imprisonment. 

"Mr Falla has hitherto an unblemished character and found the whole criminal justice process to be an extremely stressful experience," he said. "Mr Falla is a very hard-working man and he was an essential worker [during lockdown] making medical masks for the NHS."

Paraphrasing the contents of the probation report, extracts of which could not be read out in open court, Advocate Green said the service had concluded that Falla's behaviour "could be robustly addressed" without a custodial sentence. 

"This is the classic case of a viewer not a doer," he said. 

However, Magistrate's Court Judge Gary Perry said there is no such thing. 

"Sexual exploitation is one of the most heartless and abhorrent types of offences in the modern world," he said. "You were willing to download and view such images and the fact that you did so perpetuates that [demand for sexual exploitation]."

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Pictured: Falla has been sent to Les Nicolles Prison for four months.

Falla's previous 'good character' was typical of these sorts of crimes, which are often committed by "people in bedrooms" who aren't on the police's radar. 

"This Court needs to send out a clear message that such offending is not tolerated in our community," Judge Perry concluded. 

He decided that the way to do that, in line with Guernsey's leading case law for such offences, was to impose a four month prison sentence. Falla will also be subject to notification requirements, surrendering various forms of personal information to law enforcement, for the next five years. 

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