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Issues - Child Abuse - judge admits child porn charges


Judge admits porn charges
16 June 2004

Former circuit judge David Selwood today admitted making and possessing dozens of pornographic images of children.
David Selwood, who stepped down as resident judge of Portsmouth Crown Court earlier this month, pleaded guilty to 12 counts of making indecent photos of a child in March and April this year.
At a hearing in London's Bow Street Magistrates Court, the 69-year-old also admitted one count of possessing indecent photographs of children in April.
The court heard that the case had a "devastating and humiliating" effect on the judge and his family.
Sentencing, which will take place in the same court, was adjourned for reports until July 13.
The court heard that Selwood had issued a prepared statement to police, in which he maintained he had never had any sexual interest in young children.
"He gave as the reason for visiting such sites curiosity to see how easy or difficult it was for someone with limited computer skills such as himself to find such images on the internet," prosecutor Amanda Sawetz said.
But, in the statement, Selwood admitted it would be difficult to describe his actions as "research".
He was quoted as saying: "I can see objectively now how foolish this may appear but there must be things going on in the subconscious mind which I need to look at."
All the photographs were described as "level one" - which was understood to mean the least serious category of indecent images of children, containing nudity and semi-naked pictures rather than sexual activity.
Earlier this year, Selwood cleared a world authority on child abuse who pleaded guilty to downloading child pornography of having any illegal intent behind his actions.
The judge described Professor Christopher Bagley, who has written several respected pieces of research into child abuse, as "naive" for accessing the indecent images without seeking legal advice or consulting colleagues.
He ruled that Bagley had viewed the images for research purposes and not for his own sexual needs.

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