• Sex offender jailed for indecent images of children

    A registered sex offender has been handed a 20-month sentence on Friday after indecent images of children were found on his phone.

    Jailing Christopher Moreland at Belfast Crown Court, Judge Geoffrey Miller QC said those who viewed such images for "perverted pleasure" contributed to the children's "pain, discomfort and fear".

    The court also heard that Moreland, 46, had an addiction to pornography.

    He was recently upgraded by Probation to a Category Two Sex Offender.

    Moreland was told he will serve 10 months in prison, followed by 10 months on licence, for three offences arising from a search at his north Belfast home last year.

    "Appeared nervous"

    The court heard that on 17 April 2017 police called to Moreland's Brookhill Avenue home, at a time when Moreland was the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) which banned him from owning any devices that could access the internet without being authorised by police.

    Mr Magill said that when asked to produce any electronic devices, Moreland "appeared nervous" before handing over an Xbox and iPhone.

    An indecent image of a child was "immediately" seen on the phone, and Moreland later confessed to breaching a SOPO, possessing indecent images of children, and possessing extreme pornography.

    The prosecution told Judge Miller that seven indecent images of children were found on Moreland's devices, along with 18 extreme pornographic images and a video.

    Isolation

    Moreland was described as a man "with an addiction to pornography, and a sexual interest in children."

    Defence barrister Kelly Doherty spoke of her client's social isolation which led to his use of pornography "as an outlet".

    Ms Doherty said her client has apologised to both the police and the court: "He does have some victim insight and awareness, but this is limited."

    Judge Miller said that despite participating in programmes in the past to both address and try and reduce Moreland's offending, these seem to have had "limited impact".

    The judge also said that while he noted the amount of images was relatively small, accessing the internet via these devices was a "deliberate and calculated breach" from a sex offender with relevant convictions.

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