A JUDGE who gave a suspended sentence to an education official convicted of downloading indecent images of children has allowed another child porn offender to walk free.

Judge Samuel Wiggs was criticised recently for giving a suspended sentence to former council officer Robert Ian Finlay, who downloaded 600 child abuse images.

On Friday, he gave a three-year supervision order to another man who downloaded more than 500 indecent images of children.

Karl Jones, 35, pleaded guilty to 20 counts of possessing still and moving images of categories 1-4, which were found on his hard drives on July 7 last year by the owners of the property in which he was staying.

Judge Wiggs said a custodial sentence would not be in the interests of justice and imposed the three-year order along with a requirement that he attend a sexual offenders treatment programme for up to 60 days.

Prosecuting, Stuart Ellacott told Bournemouth Crown Court that Jones, of Capstone Place, Bournemouth, had initially admitted downloading large amounts of adult ‘teen’ porn, which might have contained the indecent images.

However, he later pleaded guilty to the charges.

Mr Ellacott said police found software on his computer designed to make it difficult for the IP address to be traced by the authorities, and which would also allow him to circumvent blocks imposed by internet browsers.

In mitigation, Nicholas Robinson said Jones was living in Bristol as a full-time carer for his 84-year-old mother, who has suspected lung cancer.

He said: “Mr Jones clearly deserves to be punished – there are no excuses for this behaviour.

“He is deemed to be of low risk of re-offending due to his previous good character, but a short prison sentence is too little to impact on his behaviour and minimised sense of responsibility. It might be appropriate to have a meaningful sentence in the community.”

Judge Wiggs said: “You don’t need me to tell you the public are very concerned about cases of this nature.

“In many cases it is necessary to impose a prison sentence. However they are relatively short at this level and the public interest would be better served by your having treatment and being supervised for a longer period.”

Jones was also ordered to sign the sex offenders register for seven years, and to submit any internet device to police on request for examination.