A HUDDERSFIELD man who downloaded more than 1,000 indecent images of children from his computer has narrowly avoided a prison sentence after a judge slammed the current early release provisions.
Judge Geoffrey Kamil told 21-year-old Matthew Archer that the guideline case for such offences suggested a sentence of five or six months in jail and that in the normal course of events he would be released at the half-way stage.
"But with the current early release provisions it means that the person would be eligible for release after four or six weeks which makes sentencing for six months or less in my view a total, utter nonsense," Judge Kamil told Archer.
"So that's the stark choice with which I'm faced and when faced with that choice I take the view that perhaps the appropriate way of dealing with you, and perhaps the more constructive way, would be to deal with you in the manner recommended in the pre-sentence report."
After imposing a community order incorporating a three-year supervision order and a requirement that Archer attend a sex offender programme, Judge Kamil told him: "Were it not for the early release provisions I would not have been imposing the sentence that I have.
"Your barrister will tell you just how close you came to the gates of Armley Prison."
As a result of his conviction Archer will also have to register as a sex offender for the next five years.
Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday that Archer was suspended from his job with Kirklees Council Environmental Services after a manager became aware of a computer being misused.
Prosecutor Gavin Howie told the court that when the computer equipment was analysed by police, a total of 1,018 indecent images of children were recovered from a CD downloaded by Archer.
The images are graded in seriousness from level one up to the most serious at level five and Mr Howie said that 493 of the images downloaded by Archer were at levels three and four.
There were also 478 level one images and 47 at level two.
Mr Howie said there was no suggestion that Archer had distributed the images to anyone else and when he was interviewed by police he admitted storing the pictures for his own use.
Archer, of Alwen Avenue, Birkby, pleaded guilty to 21 charges of possessing indecent images of children when his case came before Huddersfield magistrates, but they committed him to the crown court for sentence.
Barrister Simon Haring, for Archer, explained that his client had downloaded everything off his home computer - including music which he used at work - and the images had got on to the disc at the same time.
He pointed out that Archer was a man of previous good character who had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.
"He was totally unaware of the guidelines as to custody," said Mr Haring.
He said while it was unlikely that Archer would spend much time in custody, a three-year order would be quite onerous and do him more good.
A spokeswoman for Kirklees Council was unable to say if Archer would be returning to his job or not.