August 2022

Convicted paedophile breached court order by downloading private browser

A convicted paedophile who breached the terms of a court order by downloading a private internet browser, said he had done so to “block ads”.

Terence O’Neil was made the subject of a 10-year sexual harm prevention order in June 2017, after he admitted three counts of making indecent images of children and one count of possessing indecent images of children.

Peter Kelly, prosecuting, told Workington Magistrates’ Court that the order regulates how O’Neil is to live in the community and his internet use.

The 43-year-old is prohibited from activating any software that conceals or falsifies the IP address of an internet enabled device.

Mr Kelly said police officers had attended O’Neil’s home address in Whitehaven unannounced on May 10 last year and recovered his smart phone.

It had the ‘Brave’ internet browser installed on it, which is a private web browser. The phone was examined by police and “nothing untoward” was found within the device, the court heard.

O’Neil was interviewed and admitted possession of the smart phone. He was asked about the sexual harm prevention order and appeared to show “a degree of ignorance” about it.

Police put to O’Neil that he ought to be familiar with the terms of the order.

He told officers that he acquired the browser to block ads when browsing the internet. He said he uses the web browser to access YouTube and legal adult material.

O’Neil said he had downloaded another web browser but that it wasn’t compatible with his Google account.

The defendant, of Corkickle, Whitehaven, admitted breaching a sexual harm prevention order, between October 2020 and May 2021.

Sean Harkin, defending, requested a pre-sentence report be carried out before he is sentenced on August 23.

Heather Stuttard, lead magistrate, warned O’Neil that all options were open, including prison.

He was granted unconditional bail until his next court appearance.