Page last updated at 15:25 GMT, Friday, 17 October 2008 16:25 UK

Man had cartoon-style child porn

A Teesside man who downloaded cartoon-style pictures of computer-generated child pornography has been ordered to register as a sex offender.

Robul Hoque, 32, from Middlesbrough, had thousands of images involving incest and child abuse on his computer.

Many of the images were so realistic they were considered by a jury to be indistinguishable from photographs.

He was found guilty last month at Teesside Crown Court of six charges of having indecent pseudo-photographs.

Police forensic experts said the case was a legal first, which had prompted calls for new legislation to tackle computer-generated child pornography.

The images were part of an online comic strip Hoque downloaded in the summer of 2000, which involved child abuse and incest.

Until today, we have never had cartoon-type images deemed as pseudo-photographs and put before the court

Ray Savage, Cleveland Police

They were seized by police in October 2006.

Ordering unemployed Hoque to sign on the Sex Offenders Register for five years, Judge Peter Bowers said: "This was highly unusual case because the children involved were very much the product of a computer image.

"Effectively, they crossed the line of what is illegal and what is lawfully permitted."

He also ordered Hoque, of Hardwick Road, Middlesbrough, to complete an internet sex offenders treatment programme and 18 months community punishment.

Feeding demand

Speaking after the hearing, Ray Savage, a forensic computer analyst for Cleveland Police, said new legislation was being considered aimed at dealing with pseudo-photographs.

He said: "Until today, we have never had computer graphic or cartoon type images deemed as pseudo-photographs and put before the court.

"Though no actual child has been abused, it helps to feed the demand."

Hoque said he came across the material through an internet search and became curious about comic-style pictures.

A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) added: "The outcome of this case has established that these detailed images of child sexual abuse qualify as indecent pseudo-photographs of children, the making of which is illegal."

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