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Tuesday, September 14, 1999 Published at 16:09 GMT 17:09 UK

UK: Wales

Judge speaks out against Internet corruption

A Cardiff Crown Court judge hits out at "obscene images".

A judge at Cardiff Crown Court has hit out against the "corruption of children" via the Internet.

Judge Roderick Evans QC jailed businessman Michael Harris, 36, for four months after hearing how he downloaded more than 1,000 pornographic images of young boys on his home computer.

"The Internet causes concern because anyone who surfs for child pornography encourages the corruption of children," he told Harris.

'Obscene images'

"Sadly it has become common for people to distribute these obscene images across the globe at the touch of a button.

"All over the world children are being corrupted by people like you."

Harris was caught following a police clampdown on illegal sex images across the Internet.

The court heard that he regularly surfed the Web looking for explicit pictures of "cute young teenagers".

Peter Murphy, prosecuting, said: "Police raided Harris's home and found sex contact magazines and a computer full of disturbing images.

"The children in the pictures varied in age from five to 17-year-olds.

"Officers also found letters he had sent out to other computer users who were surfing the Internet for child porn.

"In one letter he praised the Internet for being fun and making illegal images available to people like himself.

Child pornography

"He also encouraged other men interested in child pornography to get connected to the Internet.

"Without men like Harris, people would be less encouraged to produce pictures of young children being physically and sexually abused.

"When arrested, Harris admitted he was bisexual and kept the images for his own sexual gratification. "

While admitting the pornograhic images were "horrible", Morgan Jenkins, defending, said Harris was a compulsive viewer of pornography.

"And the free availability of pornography on the Internet is also an important factor," he told the hearing.

Office furniture salesman Harris from Rhymney in the Rhymney Valley, south east Wales, pleaded guilty to 11 counts of making indecent photographs of young children.

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