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Lowestoft teenager falls foul of porn laws

PUBLISHED: 12:00 14 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:38 06 July 2010

Hayley Mace

A Lowestoft teenager has become one of the first people to fall foul of a new law which bans the possession of "grossly offensive" pornographic images.

A Lowestoft teenager has become one of the first people to fall foul of a new law which bans the possession of “grossly offensive” pornographic images.

In January this year, a new law came into force as part of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 making it an offence to possess any extreme images which are deemed to be “grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise of an obscene character”.

Yesterday, Lowestoft teenager Damien Wentworth, of Laurel Road, was fined after police found a short video on his mobile telephone which contained an extreme image. The EDP cannot reveal the content of the image because of its pornographic nature.

Lowestoft magistrates court heard that Damien Wentworth's mobile telephone was seized by police in connection with another incident and that the video clip, which had been sent to him several years previously, was found stored on his memory card.

Colette Griffiths, prosecuting, said that when he was interviewed by officers, the 18-year-old said he was aware of the film clip and had kept it on his phone after it was sent to him.

Wentworth yesterday pleaded guilty to possessing an extreme pornographic image.

His solicitor Richard Mann said: “Technically, he is guilty of the offence, but I would say that he didn't even know it was an offence to have this on his phone.

“I can't blame him for that, as I didn't know that either and nor did the solicitors I have spoken to in court today. It is a law which came into force this year, so it is hardly a surprise that he didn't know.”

Mr Mann said that Wentworth had received the image several years ago. He said: “He would no doubt say that at the time, everyone was sending these sort of images around…This was just one image on his phone and something which he had not looked at for some time. He was not putting it on the internet or distributing it to anybody.”

Wentworth was ordered to pay £175 in fines and costs. Magistrates also ordered the destruction of the image.

The new law covers any images, including those stored on mobile telephones, DVDs and on computer hard disks. It also covers staged acts and applies whether or not those involved have consented.

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