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Judge overturns Norfolk man's porn conviction

PUBLISHED: 15:33 04 November 2008 | UPDATED: 13:53 21 May 2010

Ian Clarke

A Norfolk man convicted five years ago of possessing pornographic images of children was today cleared on appeal by the nation's top judge.

Christopher Rowe, 32, has fought a legal campaign to overturn his 12 convictions for having indecent images of children and has already served a six-month jail term.

A Norfolk man convicted five years ago of possessing pornographic images of children was today cleared on appeal by the nation's top judge.

Christopher Rowe, 32, has fought a legal campaign to overturn his 12 convictions for having indecent images of children and has already served a six-month jail term.

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, ruled all his convictions “unsafe” and overturned them.

Mr Rowe, of Oakdene, Wicken Green Village, near Fakenham, was found guilty of the offences after a trial at King's Lynn Crown Court in August 2003 and was sentenced three months later.

The Court of Appeal heard that he was first arrested after police officers raided the home he shared with his parents in 2002.

They found 20 floppy discs, containing pornographic images of children, but some of the images had been deleted.

Mr Rowe denied knowing anything about any of the images or ever knowingly accessing child porn.

His case was referred back to the Appeal Court in January this year by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

Giving his judgement on the case, Lord Judge, sitting with Mrs Justice Swift and Mr Justice Cranston, said the trial judge's summing up of the case was fair and “reflective of the trial as it had unfolded before him.”

He said the judge could not have been aware of the significance of the issue of “deletion” at that time, but added that the law had been more closely “defined” in a test case since then.

Mr Rowe would have needed specialist software to erase the images from the discs - something he did not have - and Lord Judge said that issue was “never understood and not sufficiently addressed” during his trial.

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