Rules on paedophiles seeing their children relaxed after judges decide their human rights are more important
Restrictions on paedophiles using the internet and seeing their own children have been torn up after judges ruled their human rights are more important.
The Court of Appeal has overturned powers introduced by the last government to protect children from abuse following a landmark legal challenge.
Four men convicted of viewing child pornography online argued it would breach their ‘right to a family life’ to keep them apart from their children and stop them surfing the web.
In a controversial move, the Court of Appeal said judges should no longer impose total bans on sex offenders accessing the internet.
Paedophiles have also won the right to have unsupervised access to their children as it would breach their human rights to keep them apart, judges said.
They ruled the ‘right to a family life’ must be taken into account before Sexual Offences Prevention Orders are issued. The decision by three appeal judges, led by Lord Justice Hughes, will seriously weaken the ability of the courts to place restrictions on offenders.
Last night Philip Davies MP said: ‘This is very worrying. What concerns me is the criminal justice system always seems to put the rights of the criminal ahead of the public and victim. It risks creating a terrible victim of crime, which could be completely avoidable. That to me is unforgivable.’
One of those who brought the challenge was Wayne Clarke, 34, who was convicted in 2006.
He had been traced to North Wales after breaching his bail and found to have a stash of electronic equipment containing photos and videos of young girls engaged in sexual acts.
He had been in touch with a mother of a four-year-old girl and had sent her child pornography.
The Court of Appeal ruled the terms of Clarke’s SOPO were ‘wider than necessary’ and a blanket internet ban on him was ‘disproportionate’.
Conditions of the SOPO which prevented any social contact with boys was also ‘unnecessary and unrealistic’ as it would prevent Clarke from having ‘ordinary family contact with his brother and nephews’.
The judges also amended restrictions on Bryan Hall, 54, caught with a bin bag full of child pornography in 2009, and Steven Smith, 36, who admitted having child pornography and had a previous conviction for raping a boy.