A Shiney Row based computer programmer has been jailed for 15 months for possessing Category A indecent images of children, and for perverting the course of justice in using his encryption skills to obstruct the investigation.
Police had found evidence that Christopher Longley, 57, had downloaded the images onto his hard drive. However, Longley refused to cooperate in the investigation and hand over the keys to the encryption, which means the full extent of his crimes remain unknown.
However, due to the obvious inclination that he had something to hide, he was nonetheless found guilty and made to undertake a sexual harm prevention order as well as being imprisoned. The order restricts his use of computers, which effectively ends his career.
Judge Penny Moreland told him: “I regard it as a reasonable inference from your refusal to co-operate with the investigation by facilitating the decryption that you had something to hide upon it.
“It’s important the sentence I impose today reinforces the message that failing to co-operate with an investigation into indecent images of children will not result in a lesser penalty than the offence.”
The judge said there must be a sentence of “general deterrence” for offending by such failure to co-operate and added: “Appropriate punishment can only be achieved by an immediate custodial sentence.”