Councillor's porn shame

DESPITE using his credit card to register and download child pornography former councillor David Smith today insisted they got there by mistake.FBI investigators in America discovered Felixstowe councillor David Smith was viewing child porn on the internet.

DESPITE using his credit card to register and download child pornography former councillor David Smith today insisted they got there by mistake.

FBI investigators in America discovered Felixstowe councillor David Smith was viewing child porn on the internet.

Smith - who today resigned as a Conservative councillor and has "withdrawn from public life" - downloaded the pornographic images onto his home computer.

He has been formally cautioned by police and will have to sign the sex offenders' register.


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But today Smith, 39, of Orchard Row, Grange Road, Felixstowe, who described himself as "a bit battered and bruised", still denied he had intentionally downloaded the images.

"I do accept that the images in question were on my computer and that I must have downloaded them, but I state categorically that I did not download them intentionally," he said.

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"The fact that I have received a caution underlines that the images were at the very lowest end of the scale of seriousness.

"I'd like to make it clear that I totally support the work of the police in trying to identify genuine criminals.

"The thought of child pornography abhors me just as much as it does anybody else and my case shows the dangers that exist on the internet, especially with spam e-mails and message boards where the content is unknown. I made a very serious but genuine mistake and I am sad that this case ever needed to go to court."

He had withdrawn from public life entirely, resigning as a Suffolk Coastal and Felixstowe Town councillor, and as a governor of Langer Primary School.

"Even though there was no intent on my part with regard to the charges laid against me, I believe that some members of the public will retain a 'no smoke without fire' attitude towards me which will lead to a lack of confidence in my ability to continue," he said.

"There will forever be a stain on my character and a perception problem that I will not be able to fully overcome.

"I would like to place on record my thanks to all those that have given me love and support during this difficult time, especially my family and close friends. I'm a bit battered and bruised, but life goes on. One chapter closes, another opens."

At his last court hearing, Smith indicated he would be pleading not guilty to the 10 charges of making indecent photographs of a child under the age of 16.

But now he has admitted the offences and accepted a formal police caution.

A Crown Prosecution Service spokesman said: "He was provided to us from a list the FBI passed to the police in this country of subscribers for a pornographic website. So from that we believe he did use his credit card to subscribe to that, and by admitting his guilt and accepting the caution he has accepted that."

Nine charges were classed at level one, the least serious of the five levels used to describe pornographic images. Level one related to children posing. There was one charge at level two which related to sexual activity between children.

"Whilst this is a relatively minor case of its type, we believe it is in the public interest and hence our responsibility to prosecute all offences against vulnerable groups to the full extent of the law," said the CPS spokesman.

"This illustrates the advances made in both the detection and prosecution of cases in Suffolk involving children with many more cases coming before the court in the coming few months."

N What do you think of David Smith's actions? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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