Ex-councillor's child porn shame

A DISGRACED former town councillor who downloaded child porn on to his computer has escaped a jail sentence.Mabon Dane, who was described as having an “unhealthy interest in young children” walked free from court after a judge decided to punish him with a community order which he hoped would deter him from committing similar offences in the future.

A DISGRACED former town councillor who downloaded child porn on to his computer has escaped a jail sentence.

Mabon Dane, who was described as having an “unhealthy interest in young children” walked free from court after a judge decided to punish him with a community order which he hoped would deter him from committing similar offences in the future.

Dane, 36, a former Haverhill town councillor, was found guilty by a jury at Ipswich Crown Court last month of 16 offences of making indecent photos of children and one offence of possessing indecent photos of children between January and June 2004.

Dane, of Withersfield Road, Haverhill, had denied all the charges.


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Sentencing him yesterday Judge David Goodin said that as the images found on Dane's computer were level one, the lowest end of the scale for such images, the custody threshold hadn't been crossed.

He ordered Dane to perform 80 hours community service and made him the subject of a three-year supervision order.

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He also ordered him to pay £500 towards the costs of the prosecution and warned him that if he breached the community punishment and rehabilitation order he could be brought back to court and jailed.

Judge Goodin also ordered Dane to sign on the sex offenders' register for five years and disqualified him from working with children.

He said: “In my judgement it is likely there is a risk that you will continue to commit similar offences in the future.

“That being the case it must follow that your interest in what can only be called child pornography might remain undimmed”.

He described Dane as having an unhealthy interest in young children and said he was concerned that Dane was unable to accept responsibility for what he had done.

Judge Goodin described the offences Dane had been convicted of as arousing great public concern, outrage and revulsion.

He said Dane's conviction by the jury had been “inevitable” and said it was clear he had tried to delete indecent images from his computer while the police were at his door.

He told Dane he had read reports of the work he had done for the benefit of the local community. “It is clear that you are capable of being a force for good,” he said.

During Dane's trial the court heard that he had used computer software called Evidence Eliminator to delete the indecent images while police were banging on his front door.

Officers were forced to break down the door of his first-floor flat when he did not answer and during a search of the premises his laptop was found under his bed. More than 850 explicit images of children were discovered on the computer.

Giving evidence during the trial Dane claimed he was the victim of a “vindictive campaign” and said he had no idea how the obscene images had got onto his computer.

He said he had not opened his front door on the day of the police raid because he did not know who was banging on his door and he was afraid that he might be attacked.

Matthew McNiff for Dane said his client had no previous convictions and that as a town councillor he had done a lot of positive work.

He described Dane as a man with an enormous capacity to do good and achieve good. He went on to describe Dane's fall from grace as “significant”.

He told the court that Dane had had a great deal of contact with children over the years, especially in the field of junior athletics, and there had been no complaints about his behaviour arising out of that contact.

After the hearing, Haverhill Town Council clerk Gordon Mussett said: “This is one of the most heinous crimes that can be committed and that he did so while still a town councillor makes it doubly so and leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.

“The police are to be congratulated for apprehending and bringing to justice individuals like Dane who brings the good name of public service into disrepute.

“I think probably the most reassuring thing for both parents and grandparents is the fact that he is banned from ever working with children.”

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