A DAD has been banned from using the internet after logging-onto a fake astronomy website that was actually plagued with child porn.
Francis Cassidy, 48, had over 400 images of pre-teen children being abused, 19 of which were at the second-worst level of depravity known to police.
He escaped prison today (Tues) with community service at Edinburgh Sheriff Court after being deemed “low risk” to the public and his own children.
But a sheriff warned him that he would be jailed if he ever looks at illegal porn again.
Police scouring the worldwide web found the bogus astronomy site in 2007 and began hunting down the people visiting it.
They raided Cassidy’s Dalkeith home in February last year and seized his computer after matching it to one which had visited the shocking kid porn page.
Fiscal depute Ruth Ross Davie said: “A police operation, along with the child exploitation and online protection organisation, found a website which was an astronomy website corrupted with indecent images of children.
“He admitted owning the equipment and cooperated with police officers, acknowledging that he had viewed certain website which had pictures on them which could be deemed to be illegal.”
But Cassidy’s defence agent Stewart Carson insisted the sick pictures were never intentionally saved onto his computer.
He said: “He has no access to the images. He only viewed them on the website and never saved them or downloaded them.
“The Children and Families team had to take a “better safe than sorry” approach in conducting an assessment and are satisfied he is of low risk to his children.
“He demonstrates an apparent appreciation of the nature of his offending.”
Sheriff Derrick McIntyre ordered Cassidy to do 160 hours of unpaid work and put him on the Sex Offenders’ Register for three years.
He told him: “You have pled guilty to having in your possession indecent images of young teenagers in their pre-teens.
“But as I understand it you hadn’t downloaded them, you merely looked at them.
“These are not victimless crimes.
“If it wasn’t for people viewing the images like you did, then maybe they wouldn’t exist.
“You are not to have unsupervised access to the internet and you are not to have unsupervised contact with females under the age of 16.
“If you commit offences of this nature again then you can expect a custodial sentence.”