Two points really. First, from the article:
“It was immediately referred to the National Crime Agency (CEOP).”
I always wonder about all the officers and forensic staff that work at CEOP (‘Child Exploitation and Online Protection’ Command). Sure, their protection from prosecution is covered by “Memorandum of Understanding Between the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) concerning Section 46 Sexual Offences Act 2003” .
However, how does that prevent said officers & staff from becoming inured to the content of the images they deal with, and how can anyone be sure that they don’t get the same thoughts and feelings thst the person who is being prosecuted for those images had?
There is internal mental health therapy/support services in place that supposedly deals with those who “struggle” with their feelings in this regard, but (as with their approach to CSAM in general) it’s aim is to repair the damage rather than prevent it. So, the moment any technician/officer starts formulating a personal opinion not in keeping with the accepted requirement of their role, shouldn’t it be that they are, at that moment, culpable in the same way as anyone else viewing CSAM?
Anyway, second point:
I was surprised that Patrick Rock was even investigated to be honest; 20 images of 9 girls which weren’t even nude.
No doubt there may have been political (with a small ‘p’) reasons for bringing this to court; anyone who wasn’t a public figure, let alone not been on the policy committee mentioned, may have got a caution at most, but IWF, CEOP, FBI or any other similar organisation that investigates the internet for CSAM/CSEM would be unlikely to progress an investigation of 20 images of clothed children, whatever the child’s postures in them… 20 thousand perhaps.
The immediate thought is: "were these images any different to those that are criticised in ‘Cuties’ still available on Netflix? At the time they compared them to that of the music video of Britney Spears ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’.
“Sasha Wass QC, told jurors they would have to decide whether the images were worth ‘criminalising’ a man of previous good character over.”
In the end, they did.