Islanders criticise court after artist found with indecent images avoids prison

Royal Court. Picture: ROB CURRIE. (37915412)

A CHILD-ABUSE campaigner has condemned the Royal Court for failing to jail an artist who downloaded hundreds of indecent images of children.

Cheyenne O’Connor branded the 312-hour community service order handed to Edward Blampied “disgusting” and said it was “no deterrent” to others tempted to view child abuse.

Blampied – known for his trademark caricatures and murals – admitted downloading 568 indecent images of children.

The pictures were mostly of girls aged under ten, with the youngest aged three, the court heard last week.

The sentence was met with outrage on social media, with dozens of people saying he should have faced a long prison sentence.

And Ms O’Connor, who was behind an online petition in 2019 demanding higher sentences for paedophiles, said that the children in the images had been let down by the court.

She continued: “It has surely set a precedent now. Surely anyone else caught with possessing 500 images will be asking the judge not to send them to prison. Will this become a guideline now for the court?”

She added: “If you google ‘500 indecent images’ it brings up story after story of people being jailed in the UK, so why do you get away with it here?

“This is not a victimless crime, but this sentence does not reflect that.”

Blampied, who has also illustrated children’s books, pleaded guilty to possessing indecent images of children. As well as community service, he received a probation order and was placed on the Sex Offenders Register and ordered to pay £2,000 in court costs.

The sentence drew criticism on social media, with one commentator describing the decision as “absolutely disgraceful”.

“What about protecting the innocent? Behind every one of those images is a victim,” they wrote.

Another Islander commented: “The sentencing here is laughable. He should have got jail. Anything to do with a child or children should be a prison sentence. Where is the protection for the children here? Shocking result.”

Under Jersey’s laws, if the sentencing of a person in the Royal Court appears to the Attorney General as having been “unduly lenient”, he can refer it to the Court of Appeal for review.

The JEP contacted the Law Officers’ Department for comment and was told it “would not be appropriate for the AG to comment on a live case”.

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