University of Southampton student Barry Shaw has received a 24 month community order after admitting to downloading indecent images of children.
The 38 year-old former Civil Service accountant has previously served a jail sentence in Northern Ireland for making 24 indecent images of children and distributing a further four. After his sentence, he moved from Belfast to Southampton to study, where he reportedly breached a sexual harm prevention order.
Shaw confessed to the offence earlier this year after a search of his personal electronic devices in July 2017. However, he did not receive a further jail sentence due to his place at the University.
Solicitor Eve Shelley defended Shaw, arguing that:
If he was to be sent to custody today there will come a time in the future when he is released.
But he will not be in education, he will not have university accommodation, he will not be in contact with the probation.
Ms Shelley also claimed as mitigating factors for Mr Shaw that:
He moved to Southampton from Ireland having been estranged from his family.
He was failing in his studies, that led him to have an increase in his low mood and an increase in his stress.
The way he dealt with that was to access pornography.
During sentencing, Judge Gary Burrell QC stated to the defendant that:
At the moment fortunately for you there are a number of factors which are in your favour. You seem to understand you are putting your situation at risk if you continue to act in this way.
It is unclear if the University was aware of Shaw’s criminal convictions when granting him a place, as sentences of less than 30 months do not have to be declared once spent.
Update – Wessex Scene contacted the University of Southampton this afternoon for a comment on the case, and have now received the following statement from a University spokesperson:
The University does not condone any form of criminal activity. This is a complex situation where we must wait for the judicial process to be completed before we can activate our own internal disciplinary procedures. In this case the University has worked closely with the Police and the Probation Service to ensure that the necessary actions are in place to protect the health and safety of all of its staff, students and visitors.