former circuit judge who pleaded guilty to child pornography charges
has been spared a jail sentence.
The 70-year-old was charged after police found 75 images of naked and semi-naked boys aged between eight and 14 on his laptop computer.
A spokesman for the Department of Constitutional Affairs said that Judge Selwood would be entitled to a full pension. The spokesman said that he was due to retire when he reached the age of 70 but was retiring early because of ill health. "The judge is innocent until proved guilty and therefore, like any other person, is entitled to his full pension upon retirement", the spokesman said.
Presumably, his retirement will not effect police investigations
in any way, but the question should be asked, would he have decided
to retire due to such ill health had he not been arrested and placed
Community sentence for former judge who downloaded child porn
David Selwood was told that the courts looked "gravely" on the offences he had committed because they involved "exploitation and abuse of children".
After Selwood, 70, was sentenced, campaigners called for further detailed investigations into cases involving offences against children which he heard as a judge.
Natasha Finlayson, of the charity ChildLine, said: "His authority to make judgments in cases involving offences against children must surely be called into question."
Police investigated Selwood after US officials discovered he had contacted an American pornographic website. On his computer, they found 75 images of naked or partially clothed boys aged between eight and 14.
Selwood resigned from his position as resident judge at Portsmouth crown court, and at an earlier court appearance admitted 12 counts of making indecent photographs and one count of possessing such images.
At Bow Street magistrates court in central London yesterday, Judge Timothy Workman said that the number of images was "not insignificant" and that they had been downloaded on a number of occasions over a period of six weeks.
The judge, accepting that Selwood had an "exemplary record" in the law and in the army, where he had attained the rank of major general, said: "The commission of these offences and the convictions now recorded against him are undoubtedly a personal tragedy to him and his family.
"Nevertheless the courts look gravely on this type of offence because it involves the exploitation and abuse of children, and the court's first concern must be to them."
The judge told Selwood that he would not need to attend a sex offenders' programme since the advice and guidance he needed could come from a probation officer.
However, Selwood's name has been added to the sex offenders' register.
Selwood, of Winchester, who is married with four children and six grandchildren, maintained that he had never had any sexual interest in children but had visited child porn sites out of "curiosity".
Richard Hallam, defending, said: "He has lost his reputation, he has lost his career. The ramifications [of his offences] will go on reverberating probably throughout the rest of his life."
Before Selwood's disgrace, two men he dealt with for offences involving children had their sentences increased on appeal. Since his arrest, however, the Crown Prosecution Service has reviewed his history and found "no obvious pattern of inappropriate sentencing".
Earlier this year Selwood cleared Christopher Bagley, a world authority on child abuse, of having criminal intent when he downloaded child pornography. He described Professor Bagley as "naive" for not seeking legal advice or consulting colleagues before accessing the computer images.
Just 24 hours after judge David Selwood avoided prison, Eton College master Ian McAuslan also avoided jail even though he admitted possessing over 2,000 images of children, 200 of them described as indecent. Magistrates imposed a sentence of only nine months, suspended for two years.
judge did not even make an order forbidding McAuslan from working with
children. It certainly pays to know the right people and confirms
yet again that there's one law for them, and another law for the rest