Page last updated at 16:40 GMT, Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Judges lift web paedophile orders

Judges have lifted the restrictions on an internet paedophile's future contact with children.

At Norwich Crown Court Michael Philip Lambert, 43, from Norfolk, had admitted making indecent photos of children.

The court imposed a community supervision order, a sexual offences prevention order (Sopo) and ordered him to attend a sex offenders programme.

Mr Justice Simon and Judge Elgan Edwards quashed the Sopo in its entirety at the Court of Appeal.

Home searched

Lambert, of Thorn Road, Fakenham, admitted he had a sexual preference for boys aged 11 to 13.

The Sopo order, imposed at the crown court in June, banned him from being a member of any organisation involved in training or supervising children, from using the internet or text messages to contact children and from living with children without a parent or guardian.

The Appeal Court judges agreed there was little to suggest Lambert posed a risk of direct assaults on children.

Mr Justice Simon told the court Lambert was caught after police searched his home and found a computer on which were stored indecent pictures and movies involving young boys between the ages of 11 and 13.

'Medium' risk

A probation officer's report rated the risk of harm to children as "medium", and only likely if his circumstances changed such as obtaining unsupervised access to children.

His lawyers argued that the Sopo could only have been appropriately made if the court had been satisfied it was necessary to protect the public from sexual harm.

Lambert's offending had been confined to downloading images and, although there may have been some indirect harm caused to the children in the photos, there was no suggestion he was at risk of directly harming any child, the court heard.

Quashing the order, Mr Justice Simon said: "The sentencing judge appears to have approached the order on the basis that a sexual assault on a child, if it did occur, would be likely to be something that would cause serious harm.

"We would agree, but there was little to suggest an assault was a risk, other than the expressed predilection for boys."

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