A British man’s old age and poor health acted as “get out of jail free” cards after he was convicted of possessing child pornography.
Victor Melleney, 76, retired as a director after working almost 30 years for the British Broadcasting Company. He was accused last year of storing 832 indecent photographs and videos of minors on an assortment of devices, according to a BBC report. Police also found stun guns when they searched his London home. Melleney was convicted on December 16, 2021. The 76-year-old was cleared of making indecent photographs of hundreds of children, but found guilty of an alternative charge of possession.
The defendant reportedly maintained all along he had no idea how the illegal images ended up on his computer hard drives. Melleney admitted he is addicted to legal pornography, but maintained he had no interest in indecent images of children, the Kingston Crown Court heard, according to a report from the Post Millenial.
The retired film director was sentenced Friday by Kingston Crown Court Judge Simon Bryan QC. The BBC reported that Judge Bryan handed Melleney a 20-month prison sentence for the image offenses and two months for the gun offenses, which he suspended for two years due to his poor health and recent heart attack.
“You are 76 years old, of poor health due to a heart condition,” Judge Bryan reportedly told Melleney. “You had a heart attack and were intensive care for a period. A prison sentence would be particularly challenging. I must bear in mind the COVID-19 pandemic and the prison conditions of what would be a relatively short custodial term.”
The Crown Court judge also required Melleney to be on the sex offenders registry for ten years and attend a rehabilitation activity, according to a Daily Mail report.
“I bear in mind there has been a considerable impact on your friends and family,” Bryan said, adding, “You will have to live with the disgrace and ignominy that you have brought on yourself.”
Melleney’s attorney, Kieran Vaughan QC, noted his client was convicted of the “less serious offense” presented to the jury. Vaughan added Melleney was medically vulnerable and had worked at the BBC for 30 years with an “unblemished record.”
“He is 76 years of age and of good character until these proceedings,” continued the lawyer. “It is not an exaggeration that, as a consequence of these proceedings, he has lost everything dear to him. His life has been decimated as a consequence of it; his wife has left him; his eldest daughter does not speak to him at all; and, his youngest daughter has very little meaningful contact with him.”
“His fall from grace from where he previously stood has been seismic,” his lawyer added.
“You might say he only has himself to blame,” responded the judge.