Judge demands answers in child sexual abuse case

A FURIOUS judge has demanded a written explanation over why it took three years to bring a child sex abuse case to court.

Judge Jeremy Jenkins wants answers over the “disgraceful” handling of the case of Scott Edwards.

The 39-year-old defendant, of Cefn Fforest, near Blackwood, was caught with more than 1,000 child abuse images, Cardiff Crown Court was told.

Prosecutor Nigel Fryer said Edwards first came to the attention of the authorities March 2019 over pictures accessed from a link in a Kik chat room.

Officers went to the defendant’s workplace to speak to him but it took until January 2021 before he attended a police station for a voluntary interview.

Judge Jenkins told Mr Fryer: “He made full and frank admission during that interview on January 26.

“Why has it taken so long for this case to come to court?

“I want a full explanation from the chief constable.

“It’s beyond belief.

“It has taken three years, or just short of three years.

“It is a disgrace, nothing short of a disgrace.”

Mr Fryer replied: “I will relay that back with a written explanation from the chief constable.”

Edwards pleaded guilty to possession of 224 category A images, the most serious kind.

He also admitted possession of 209 category B and 575 category C images.

The defendant was a man of previous good character with no convictions recorded against him.

Nicholas Wragg, representing Edwards, said his client had clicked on a link in the chat room which had downloaded all the images in just six seconds.

His lawyer said the defendant had lost his job as a result of his conviction.

Judge Jenkins told Edwards the delay had “hampered swift justice” in this case.

He said: “Your pre-sentence states you are genuinely remorseful for your actions.

“There is a prospect of rehabilitation.”

The defendant was jailed for 16 months, suspended for 18 months.

Edwards was made the subject of a two-year community order and must complete a 40-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

He was ordered to pay £535 prosecution costs and a victim surcharge.

The defendant must register as a sex offender for the next 10 years.

The investigation was carried out by the National Crime Agency, which does not have a chief constable, but is headed by its director-general, Rob Jones.

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