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Saddleworth Parish Councillor guilty of downloading indecent images

Cllr Michael Buckley

Cllr Michael Buckley

Reporter: Stuart Littleford

A Saddleworth Parish Councillor has been found guilty at Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester of downloading indecent images of young boys.

Paul Michael Buckley, 67, appeared in court charged with 17 counts of making or possessing indecent images of naked boys aged six to 17 years old.

16 counts related to the making of – referring in these instances to downloading – specific images while count 17 related to the possession of 296 images.

Buckley, of Dobcross, who is an independent Saddleworth Parish Councillor, was unanimously found guilty by the jury of the first 16 counts, but the 17th count was discharged for legal reasons.

He must sign the Sex Offenders’ Register and will be sentenced in the New Year – he was told by the judge he would not be facing a prison term.

Judge Jonathan Foster QC said: “It is a serious offence in that it involves pictures that have been found to be indecent – but it is at the lowest end of this sort of offence.”

“The effect on this man is going to be considerable and I don’t see him as being somebody who is going to indulge in this sort of thing again.”

The images were discovered after police executed a search warrant at Buckley’s home in March 2014 and seized computers, hard drives, memory sticks and a mobile phone.

The court was told the defendant admitted in an interview with a detective from Greater Manchester Police to downloading the images but that he believed they were not indecent.

A number of still images were shown to the court by the prosecution and defence.

They images shown were of naked boys in groups or individually swimming in a pool, playing with water blasters, skinny dipping, and playing sports.

Buckley gave no evidence before the barristers and Judge Foster QC gave their summaries of the evidence.

He told the jury before they came to their decision that “nudity is not necessarily in itself indecent” and referred to popular films and other artistic images.

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