Belfast Telegraph

Punishment for child porn pervert doesn't match crimes

By Gail Walker

Notorious paedophile Ian Magill is back in prison ... again. Last week he was jailed for two years and eight months for breaching a sexual offences prevention order after he slipped out of Northern Ireland and wound up in Thailand.

He'd received permission to go to Dublin, where he arranged the trip from an internet café. Returning from his 'travels', he was stopped at Heathrow, where his new laptop contained child porn.

He may be returned to England to face other charges but as things stand he is due to serve half his sentence in prison and half under supervised parole.

Most of us will quite rightly be bewildered at the perceived leniency shown to Magill who was first convicted of making indecent images of children in 1991 and got a suspended sentence.

In 1995 he was caught smuggling child porn from Amsterdam. Again, he walked free with a suspended sentence and a £3,500 fine.

Then, in 2007 he was jailed for two years for making indecent images of children. He'd trawled the backstreets of Bangkok before paying a (presumably) desperate mother £155 to let him take abusive photos of her four children as a birthday present to himself. A detective said the photos in Magill's 15,000-plus cache were among the worst he'd seen.

So let's get this straight. Walked. Walked. Two years. Two years and eight months.

No wonder many are confused about the law's view on paedophilia. Given the treatment of vile Magill, it seems you get a few chances before landing the kind of sentence a hairdresser who fiddled his VAT receipts might get.

When is the law going to wise up? Images of child abuse involve real children. Real abuse. Real rapes. The perverted desires of people like Magill keep that business booming.

It's time our legislators introduced laws and sentences which are more than a barely disguised mockery of abused children.

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