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Defence lawyer: man “stumbled upon" indecent images of children

Defence lawyer: man “stumbled upon

Friday 08 November 2019

Defence lawyer: man “stumbled upon" indecent images of children

The advocate defending a 49-year-old man accused of having made 35 indecent images of children on two of his laptops suggested his client may have “stumbled” on the images rather than actively downloaded them.

Leon Peter Journeaux is facing three counts of making indecent images of children, all of which he denies.

Yesterday, the defence lawyer, Advocate Luke Sette, called the first defence witness, Chris Watts a computer forensics expert from Griffin Forensics.

He told the Court that pornographic sites are the “worst offenders” when it comes to automatically opening sometimes up to 20 other pages which the user has not asked to see, and which are then downloaded into the temporary internet cache.  

He described this as an “automated process that downloads all the elements of a page you are looking at.”


Pictured: Chris Watts, a computer forensics expert from Griffin Forensics, gave evidence for the defence.

Mr Watts said the peer-to-peer sharing software Mr Journeaux was using was “a network of like-minded people” who share the data they have on their computers with others who are interested in that particular data.

The computer forensic expert said the terms “boy,” “young boy,” “son” and “young son” were not “indicative” of indecent images of children.

He said it was “very rare” to investigate a computer for indecent images and not find search terms that are indicative of such images. “Not unheard of,” he added. “But typically I would expect to find either in google or [the file-sharing software] to find search terms indicative of looking for indecent images of children.” 

Mr Watts went so far as to say that Mr Journeaux had been “very selective in what he had chosen to download” and ignored some results that referred to children’s age to ensure he was not “downloading illegal images.”


Pictured: The defence lawyer suggested the number of indecent images of children found in Mr Journeaux's computers was "low."

Advocate Sette suggested that the number of indecent images of children found in Mr Journeaux’s computers was “low” for the period concerned – 2015 to 2018 - and Mr Watts agreed. “If somebody was really interested in indecent images of children I would expect to see a lot more.”

The defence lawyer also suggested that Mr Journeaux may have “stumbled” on the images and again Mr Watts agreed. 

“The user has been very careful to make sure he isn’t downloading indecent images of children,” he added.

“He repeatedly said [Mr Journeaux] had been trying to open files and that he kept having a missing coded warning,” he noted.


Pictured: Mr Journeaux's trial is being heard in the Royal Court.

On Wednesday, as the trial opened, Crown Advocate Conrad Yates told the Court one of Mr Journeaux’s hard drives had showed he was interested, “...not simply in mature women but in sexual content involving mature women and young boys.

“The Crown's case is that, in spite of these obvious references indicating potentially illegal content, the defendant was prepared to download them anyway,” he added.

The Court heard that when Mr Journeaux was arrested, he told police officers: “It’s all role play and there are no real children involved.” This, the Crown Advocate described as “a classic attempt to distance himself from what he was viewing".

The Crown Advocate said Mr Journeaux was “clearly not adverse to downloading titles that contained reference to indecent material” and had been “harvesting whatever extreme pornography he could that appeared to match his particular interest."

He added the material that Mr Journeaux downloaded did in fact contain indecent images of children or material of a paedophilic nature.

The trial, which is being heard by Royal Court Commissioner Sir Michael Birt, and Jurats Collette Crill and Pam Pitman, continues today.


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