Police authority employee who took indecent images of children from computer systems jailed for five years

A Scottish Police Authority (SPA) employee who made and possessed indecent images of children and extreme pornography depicting humans and animals has been sentenced to five years in prison by a judge at the High Court in Glasgow.

Lord Boyd of Duncansby sentenced Barry Rankine, an information computer technology operational officer, to five years imprisonment yesterday after the accused pleaded guilty to making and possessing indecent images of children stolen from police computer systems.

Mr Rankine had 11,000 images of the most serious categories A and B images in addition to extreme pornography – bestiality with adults. He also had 300,000 category C images of children.

The judge said there were two sources of the images – the first was the internet and the second was police materials. Mr Rankine was able to take the material because of lax security standards at the SPA, the judge was told.

Lord Boyd of Duncansby said: “You held a position of trust as an information computer technology operational officer with the Scottish Police Authority. Your role was to maintain and support computer systems. That gave you unlimited access to the police case management systems and an opportunity to access them as well as a knowledge of items that would be marked for destruction.

“When police searched your house, amongst other things they found computer drives which had formed productions in two cases reported for offences relating to indecent images of children. I am told that there is no evidence to demonstrate that you accessed these particular images though clearly some images came from police productions.”

The volume of stolen information found in Mr Rankine’s house was such that it “would have taken 100 years to view them all”.

The judge discerned two motives for the offences: first, Mr Rankine’s addiction to pornography depicting sexual deviance and, secondly, an “obsession with hoarding and processing data”.

He said: “I have given consideration to the imposition of an extended sentence. However as there is no suggestion that you have directly been in contact with a child, you have not shared or distributed the images, you accept that you need assistance to address your offending and you complied with your bail conditions I have concluded that the criteria for the imposition of an extended sentence is not met.

“I have listened carefully to everything that was said on your behalf and I have taken into account the terms of the criminal justice social work report and the psychological report.”

Lord Boyd of Duncansby said he was required to have regard to the definitive guidelines of the Sentencing Council for England and Wales.

Mr Rankine was given a cumulo 18 month sentence for the generation and possession of the categories A and B images.

The judge added: “I regard charge 4 as particularly serious given the breach of trust that it involved and the fact that it gave you access not just to images of child pornography but also to a range of sensitive and confidential material. On charge 4 I would have sentenced you after trial to 5 years imprisonment. In light of the plea I shall reduce the sentence to one of three and a half years.

“The Data Protection Act provides that the only penalty I can impose for a breach of s.55 of the Act is a fine. Having regard to your financial situation and the fact that you are going to prison for a long time I shall admonish you on charges 5, 6 and 7.

“The sentences of imprisonment will be served consecutively making a total of five years.

“The sentence will be backdated to 20th November 2015.”

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