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Children’s author found guilty of kiddie Web porn crimes

Judge dismisses claims of legitimate research as ‘humbug’

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A children's author and former TV director for the BBC has been convicted of peddling kiddie porn on the Internet. Ian Strachan, 60, told Shrewsbury Crown Court that he downloaded explicit material from the Net as part of research for a book he was writing on child pornography. But Strachan's plea was thrown out by Judge Michael Mander who said it was sheer "humbug" to suggest such an idea, before sentencing him to four months in prison, suspended for two years. The prosecution told how police monitored a number of paedophile sites. Not only did Strachan download material he also posted the pictures onto another site, they said. When police searched his house, they seized a number of books, disks and at least 200 images of children. "I was not thinking straight during my research," said Strachan speaking in The Times today. "When you do research you talk to a lot of people involved in the same thing and that's all I was doing. I wanted to write a book about child abuse and I was looking at the subject in many different ways. "I did not think I was doing anything illegal," he said. Strachan -- whose work includes the novel Throwaways, will have his name placed on the Paedophile Register for five years and was also ordered to pay £1,250 costs. In March, a US journalist was convicted of peddling kiddie porn after he too insisted it was part of ongoing research into paedophiles on the Net. Believed to be the first hack to be convicted for trafficking child pornography, 54-year-old Larry Matthews pleaded guilty to the offence after the Judge refused to allow him to base his defence on freedom of speech as laid down by the First Amendment of the American Constitution. ®

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