ohn Morrison’s cafe in Co Antrim has suffered financially because of his crimes and graffiti was sprayed on a wall nearby, a court heard last week.
Earlier this month the Cullybackey father-of-three, who owns the Rose Café in Portglenone, was warned he faced an almost inevitable jail sentence.
But at Antrim Crown Court on Wednesday, Judge Patricia Smyth said she believed the probation order would “get to the root cause” of the 57-year-old’s depraved offending.
She explained that with legal guidelines suggesting a jail sentence of seven or eight months she was mindful that such a sentence would not allow any licence period for any work to be carried out with Morrison.
“It’s only by getting to the root cause that the public is ultimately protected from further offences and these offences are heinous in the extreme,” said the judge who also imposed a five-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order.
At an earlier hearing Morrison, from the Craig’s Road in Cullybackey, admitted 15 counts of making indecent images and videos of children on various dates between 1 May 2017 and 10 April 2018.
Police “acting in information” searched Morrison’s home and he co-operated fully, directing officers to the relevant devices.
Cops discovered a total of 885 still images and 217 videos of child abuse.
The titles of the photographs and videos indicate that Morrison had downloaded images involving both boys and girls from as young as 10-years-old.
“These are children who are assaulted and raped and abused deliberately so that other people can witness that, that’s what these offences are,” declared Judge Smyth.
Morrison made full and frank admissions to what he had done.
Judge Smyth said Morrison had been assessed as posing a low risk of reoffending so given the fact that “in your community your peers have already passed a punishment…I have decided to impose a two-year probation order.”