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  • Apr 18, 2014
  • Updated: 5:33am

18 months for lecturer who possessed 'small library' of child porn

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 May, 2011, 12:00am

A former art and design lecturer at Polytechnic University was jailed for 18 months yesterday for possessing a 'small library' of child pornography.

Norman Jackson Ford, originally from the United States, was convicted after trial for possessing 55 pictures and 185 video clips. The files were kept on his computer and two external hard drives. Forty of the video clips were duplicates.

'It was effectively a small library of child pornography,' said Judge Kim Longley in the District Court. 'The courts in Hong Kong take a serious view of those in possession of child pornography.'

Eighteen images and 39 video clips were classified as the most serious category as they depicted penetrative sexual acts between children and adults, he said. At least one of the girls appeared to be only five.

Dressed in a black suit and a dark shirt, Ford, 49, appeared calm as the judge passed sentence.

Possession of child pornography carries a maximum penalty of five years in jail and a HK$1 million fine.

Ford's counsel, James McGowan, said that he was 'a man of good character' who had made a significant contribution to art and photography in Hong Kong.

Pleading for leniency, he said: 'His life and career have come to an end.' He said Ford received two excellent job offers on Sunday but the opportunities had now gone.

On January 8 last year, police executed a search warrant at Ford's flat in Western when he was alone and asleep. The judge said there was overwhelming evidence that Ford had opened the pornographic files the night before.

Another 10,000 pictures and 200 videos of adult pornography were found on his computer equipment, the court heard.

Longley rejected McGowen's contention that Ford was unaware of the existence of child pornography because the files were mixed with the adult pornography.

The judge also rejected the suggestion that a third party had planted the files on his computer equipment, had used his computer to download the illegal files or had hacked into his computer remotely.

Ford had copied 40 of the video clips from one hard drive to another, the judge said. The fact that not all files were copied meant that Ford had made a selection of files to copy.

Also, the thumbnails of the computer files were sufficiently clear that the images depicted were children, the judge said. He accepted that the material was intended for Ford's own viewing. He also accepted that he had a good reputation at the university.

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