A sex offender, who secretly stored more than 22,000 indecent images – the majority involving children – on electronic devices in defiance of a court order, has argued that his six-and-a-half-year prison sentence was excessive.
Martin Frederick Daly was jailed by the Royal Court in April this year after pleading guilty to downloading indecent images of children, and for breaching restraining orders limiting his access to the internet.
In the Court of Appeal, Advocate Chris Hillier, appearing for Mr Daly, argued that the six-and-a-half-year prison sentence was manifestly excessive as it related to the breaches of Court orders, and taking into account the totality of the offending.
Seeking leave to appeal, he said that the Royal Court had failed to give due weight to the fact that his client had not only made a guilty plea but had also supplied all info to allow Police to access the mobile devices discovered in his possession.
Pictured: Mr Daly's legal representative argued his jail term for breaching his restrictive orders was "excessive".
Mr Daly had first been sentenced on 15 December 2017 for two counts of indecent assault on a young girl. On that occasion, he received restrictive orders prohibiting him from accessing the internet unless the history of his internet use was accessible upon request.
However, he appeared in Court in January this year to admit breaching these orders and storing more than 22,000 indecent images, which included 1,032 deemed as being in the most serious category.
Addressing the Court of Appeal, Advocate Hillier said his client accepted that the Court had been correct to impose a four-and-half-year prison sentence for downloading the images – a sentence including a discount of more than a third for admitting the offences.
But he argued that the two-years for breaching the restrictive orders was excessive, given the precedent set in a more serious case with serious aggravating factors that resulted in an eight-and-a-half-year sentence that included two-and-a-half-years for breaching restrictive orders.
“I struggle to place [this] offending in the landscape of the previous case,” he told the Court composed of Mr James McNeil QC, Miss Clare Montgomery QC and the Bailiff of Guernsey, Sir Richard Collas.
Pictured: Mr Daly was sentenced in the Royal Court in January.
This was later disputed by Crown Advocate Richard Pedley, who emphasised the disparity in the sentencings of both cases.
Advocate Hillier suggested that the transparency of his client’s “unsophisticated pattern of behaviour” could be gauged from the fact that he had used his a laptop computer in full view of the police, though Miss Montgomery put it to him that this might equally be regarded as “brazen.”
The Crown Advocate asked the Court to reject the appeal.
He observed that, while Mr Daly had supplied the password to his computer, as well as other passwords, many of the images were stored separately on USB devices. This, he said, was evidence of motivation to conceal “a vast amount of material.”
He told the Court that Mr Daly had been given maximum credit for admitting the offences even though the admissions had not come at the earliest point in the judicial process. The offences of downloading indecent images and breaking the Court orders had been dealt with separately, and then the ‘principle of totality’ applied to reach the correct sentence.
He argued that there was therefore no reason to depart from the approach taken by the Royal Court.
Granting the application for leave to appeal, the president of the Court of Appeal, Mr James McNeil QC, reserved his judgment, which is expected to be given on Wednesday afternoon.
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