That’s right – more than two years after he was originally arrested, David Cameron’s former aide Patrick Rock is free as a bird, despite having been convicted on five counts of making indecent images of children.
(For clarity: Making, in this case, apparently means downloading pictures.)
There is, quite naturally, considerable outrage among the general public about this – and rightly so.
It’s all very well to say he only downloaded pictures of girls aged less than 18 in sexualised clothing and poses – but has anybody considered how those images were made in the first place?
Who took those photos? How else have they used the girls in the images? By downloading them, Patrick Rock – a close friend and policy advisor of David Cameron who is supposed to have worked on ways of filtering child pornography out of the Internet – condones the way these girls were used (and I employ that word advisedly).
Then there’s the attempt to cover-up the fact that he was arrested at all. Remember, this deputy director of the 10 Downing Street policy unit was allowed to find out about the allegations against him before the police came knocking on his door, giving him time to resign from his position with the Conservative-led Coalition government on February 12, 2014, prior to his arrest the following day.
Details of his arrest were not passed on to the media for nearly three weeks, and it seems unlikely that they would have been released at all if the Daily Mail had not started asking questions about Rock.
That’s right – the Daily Mail; the newspaper whose website has a column running down every page featuring photos of young women, usually scantily-clad. What irony.
Prior to his arrest, it seems Rock had been “top of the list” to be nominated for a place in the House of Lords. It seems David Cameron, his government, and the authorities in general wanted this matter simply to go away.
The fact is that crime involving ‘level C’ imagery (sexualised images of children with no adults involved) attracts only a community penalty at most.
It is wrong. Loss of reputation and public humiliation is nothing compared to what may have happened to the girls in the images.
Why has nothing been said about them?
A former aide to Prime Minister David Cameron, Patrick Rock, has been given a two-year conditional discharge over indecent images of children.
The ex-deputy director of policy at Downing Street was convicted on Wednesday of five charges and acquitted of three similar counts.
The jury was unable to reach a verdict on the remaining 12 charges.
Rock, 65, had admitted downloading 20 images of nine young girls in 2013, but denied they were indecent.
Although he will not serve time in prison, Judge Alistair McCreath said Rock’s punishment was “the loss of your reputation and your very public humiliation”.“I have not lost sight of the obvious reality that right-thinking people will quite properly consider that those who did what you did should be punished for it.
“You should be. And you have been… It is a punishment which you brought on yourself, but is nonetheless a very real one. And it is one that is utterly merited.”
The court heard that the youngest of the girls in the pictures was aged just 10 years and four months when he downloaded the image – meaning she would have been younger when it was taken.
Rock must register as a sex offender for two years and was also banned from using a device with the internet unless it can retain his browsing history and he surrenders it for inspection by police over the same period.
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