A disgraced former councillor caught with ‘vile’ indecent images of children has been spared jail.
Daniel Barnes – who was a serving Bognor town councillor when police found the pictures – was sentenced today.
The 40-year-old pleaded guilty to six offences earlier in December, including possession of 185 indecent images.
Barnes, of Storrington Road in Thakeham, downloaded the images while a serving police officer, a court heard.
What were the charges?
When he appeared at Worthing Magistrates’ Court in December, Barnes pleaded guilty to the following charges:
- Make indecent photograph of a child: one category A image (the most serious category)
- Make indecent photograph of a child: four category B images
- Make indecent photograph of a child: 180 category C images
- Possess a prohibited image of a child: 23 images
- Distribute an indecent image of a child: three category C images
- Possess an extreme pornographic image involving an animal: five images, according to the lists
Images were ‘vile’, judge says
At that hearing district judge Amanda Kelly said that even though he had viewed images of children, the offences were still very serious.
She said: “Real children have been subjected to the most awful, vile abuse.”
The case was sent to Portsmouth Crown Court for sentencing where judges have greater powers.
However judge Roger Herthington today declined the option to jail the ex-police officer.
Barnes, who has now moved to the Cambridgeshire area, was given a 12-month community order, the court confirmed.
He was also ordered to carry out unpaid work and attend rehabilitation days.
Barnes was told to sign the sex offenders register for a period of five years.
A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “Barnes is an ex-Sussex PC but the alleged offending is unconnected with that employment.
“He resigned from the force in 2016 of his own accord, not due to this investigation over which he was arrested in 2017.
“The images are all understood to have come from the internet and there is nothing to suggest that there is any risk to local children.”
Lucy Faithfull Foundation
A spokesman for the Lucy Faithfull Foundation said: “If you are concerned about what you are looking at online, or the online behaviour of someone you know, you can call the confidential and anonymous ‘Stop It Now’ helpline on 0808 1000 900 for advice, support and help to stop. Or visit https://get-help.stopitnow.org.uk/ to find out more.”