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Blind justice forces delay in Stepney man’s child porn trial

PUBLISHED: 15:06 14 August 2013 | UPDATED: 15:15 14 August 2013

A blind judge had to adjourn sentence in a child porn case today - so a fully sighted colleague could view the material.

Judge John Lafferty was unable to rule on which category a video found on a Stepney man’s laptop fell into, so a fellow judge will now have to take a look.

Philip Hawkins, 63, has previous convictions dating back to the 1980s for child abduction, taking indecent photos of children and sexual activity with a child, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.

The Rochelle Court resident was found guilty five years ago of indecently assaulting an 11-year-old boy in a swimming pool.

He was ordered to sign on the Sex Offenders Register with conditions including not viewing child pornography.

But police found a video featuring a woman having sex with a boy on his laptop on January 15 this year.

Judge Lafferty - Britain’s first full-time blind circuit Judge - said: “There is clearly what appears to be sexual intercourse between a boy and a woman.

“In my judgement there is a very clear impression that sexual intercourse is going on between the seductress and the boy.

“There is no clear evidence of penetration and the soundtrack does not help.

“Therefore I have to decide whether I am prepared to draw the conclusion whether it is sexual intercourse between a boy and a woman.

“It is not the grossest form of level four depictions that one could imagine.

“However, I am happy to allow a judge who can more aptly see the video to pass sentence and decide which category this falls in to.”

Hawkins took up the option and will now be sentenced by another on 11 September.

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