An innocent bloke who did his neighbour a favour by “lending" him his wi-fi password ended up being arrested on suspicion of downloading illegal child abuse videos.
Leicester Crown Court heard how convicted paedophile Robert Mawby had been barred from using unauthorised electronic devices after being sentenced to 24 weeks in jail in 2010.
But the 60-year-old had convinced his neighbour to let him use hi internet connection – resulting in the arrest of an innocent man.
Between March and August this year Mawby downloaded almost 500 explicit pictures and videos using his neighbour’s connection.
In mid-August Leicestershire Police went to his neighbour’s house and arrested the innocent man on suspicion of downloading the illegal material.
A few days later, on August 21, Mawby was arrested and fully exonerated his neighbour by admitting he downloaded the 476 images and 13 videos.
Mawby, who was later charged with making indecent images and breaching a sexual harm prevention order – which had been imposed by a court to limit his access to the internet – has been in custody since his arrest.
He told a sentencing hearing at Leicester Crown Court he could not return home because he was worried about being back with his neighbour.
He told the court: “I was looking to go into a probation hostel because of my neighbour.”
Phil Gibbs, prosecuting, told the court that the breach of the sexual harm prevention order should usually lead to a jail sentence, reports Leicester Live.
He said: “This is a very serious breach, given the purpose of the order.”
He said that as well as downloading images of children, Mawby had breached the order by possessing a phone, a laptop and a hard drive Leicestershire Police had not been informed about.
However, James Bide-Thomas, representing Mawby, managed to convince Judge Robert Brown to release his client from prison and give him a community order with help to overcome his addiction.
Judge Brown agreed that the time Mawby had spent in prison already would automatically deduct more than six months off any jail sentence he gave him.
He told Mawby: “This clearly crosses the custody threshold and I would have given you 10 months.
“You’re 60, you need treatment and didn’t get it last time.
"You’ve pleaded guilty to all these matters and you’ve exonerated your neighbour and you’re entitled to credit for that.”
His sexual harm prevention order, which bans him from owning or using electronic devices the police are not aware of or not able to search, continues indefinitely.
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