Canary Wharf lawyer cleared of possessing indecent images of children
PUBLISHED: 15:42 18 December 2017 | UPDATED: 15:42 18 December 2017
A high-flying Canary Wharf lawyer has been cleared of having indecent pictures after blaming a Grindr "chem-sex" party guest.
Tim Varchmin, 44, a former senior lawyer at Barclays, was accused of having more than 100 indecent images of children on his computer and mobile phone.
When officers raided his luxury flat in Lancaster Gate, west London, they also uncovered crystal meth on a glass coffee table next to a crack pipe, jurors were told.
Varchmin denied any of it was his, explaining he would invite men for drug and sex parties through Grindr and give them free rein to do what they wanted
Following a trial at the Old Bailey, Mr Varchmin was found not guilty of seven charges of possessing indecent images of children and possessing 830 milligrams of crystal meth, a class A drug.
The defendant appeared overcome with emotion as the jury acquitted him after less than a day of deliberations.
The court heard how Sky Broadband had alerted the National Crime Agency’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection team to suspicious activity on the defendant’s computer.
On the morning of October 17 2014, police searched Mr Varchmin’s home addresses in Lancaster Gate and Edgware Road and his office in Canary Wharf.
When officers went to the Lancaster Gate flat, they “pounded on the door” for five minutes and smashed it down when no-one answered.
They found 45,000 images and 106 movies on his iPhone and Apple computer, the vast majority of which were “adult porn”, jurors were told.
Of the indecent images of children that formed the charges, many were duplicates, the court heard.
Giving evidence, Mr Varchmin said he began hosting chem-sex parties with his former German boyfriend Jacob after receiving the “devastating” news that they had both contracted a drug-resistant strain of HIV.
He told jurors: “It is a life-changing event. It’s something you have to come to terms with. That bonded us together but at the time we were fighting over it. We developed a more aggressive sexual life.
“We had the feeling that now these stages of HIV were not a concern any more, we could have more sex with other men, unprotected sex as well. That was our idea.”
The defendant denied the crystal meth was his, saying it was Jacob who used it and he only took GHB.
But prosecutor Roger Daniells-Smith said Mr Varchmin had to “take responsibility” if he gave unsupervised and unhindered access to his computer.
He said: “If you lie with dogs, you get fleas. If you allow people you do not know to come and use your equipment, you have to be responsible for that equipment.”
He alleged the defendant, who was born in Hamburg, had searched the internet for indecent images of children using German words, but Mr Varchmin argued it could also have been his boyfriend.