Belfast Telegraph

Man (40) for trial on child pornography, voyeurism charges

By Paul Higgins

A Co Down man has been ordered to stand trial, accused of having more than 10,000 indecent images of children.

Michael Paul Williams will also stand before a jury charged with secretly recording the people he previously lived with for sexual thrills.

A preliminary enquiry was held at Newtownards Magistrates Court yesterday. Williams faces 28 charges in total, including 16 of making or possessing indecent images of children, five counts of having extreme pornographic images, and five counts of having images of children of a prohibited nature.

He also faces two counts of voyeurism.

All of the alleged offences are said to have been committed on dates between May 20, 2012 and June 6 last year.

It is alleged that Williams recorded two different women, had 101 indecent images of children, seven extreme pornographic images, and 11,657 prohibited images of children.

Standing in the dock, 40-year-old Williams confirmed his identity and that he understood the charges against him.

Although no details of the case were given during the court hearing, a prosecuting lawyer submitted that the papers and statements formed the basis of a prima facie case against the defendant, a submission that defence solicitor Paul Dougan conceded.

District Judge Peter King said that, having read the papers, he had "no hesitation" in declaring there was a case for Williams to answer and returned him to Downpatrick Crown Court. Williams was told that, although not obliged to, he had the right to comment on the charges, give evidence himself or call witnesses on his behalf, but he declined the opportunity.

Lodging an application for legal aid to be extended to include a senior QC, Mr Dougan revealed that in addition to the large quantity of images on the charges, "I can confirm that the images do span the full range of levels of seriousness", in that they had been classified at levels one, three and four.

According to legal guidelines, images at level one consist of erotic posing, while those at level four depict full sexual acts.

Releasing Williams on his own bail of £500, Judge King granted the legal aid application and ordered Williams to appear at Downpatrick Crown Court for arraignment on January 10 next year.

In addition, he is barred from having unsupervised contact with children and from contacting "directly or indirectly" any of the people he is alleged to have recorded.

Belfast Telegraph

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