TV ad man guilty of accessing child porn

Ian Black was found guilty at Edinburgh's Sheriff Court. Picture: Toby Williams

Ian Black was found guilty at Edinburgh's Sheriff Court. Picture: Toby Williams

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A TV advert maker is facing jail after being found guilty of having child pornography on a computer at his New Town home.

Ian Black had blamed a computer virus for downloading more than 100 child sex photographs but a jury convicted him of the offence at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday.

Following the verdict, Sheriff Fiona Reith QC deferred sentence on the 56-year-old until August 9 for reports.

Black had denied a charge of possessing child pornography on May 26 last year, the day officers called at his home in Manor Place with a search warrant following a tip-off.

The court heard previously that Black had installed software on the computer to wipe its internet browsing history each time it was turned off, but police forensic experts were able to recover the images.

Before the jury was sent out to consider its verdict, depute fiscal Dev Kapadia said that Black had tried to cover his tracks but “unfortunately his new software did not do it”, and instead “it left a clue”.

Mr Kapadia said: “It is argued by some that looking at indecent images of children is a victimless crime. It is not. It is absolutely not.

“These were children, real children, who were abused for someone’s sexual satisfaction. Ian Black went looking for this material. He tried to delete it but obviously not well enough.”

The court heard that the haul of images included 17 at Level 4 – the second highest “grade” of abuse on the sentencing scale – one of which involved a girl aged between 18 and 24 months.

Another image was reorded at Level 5 – the highest on the scale. Most of the other images were of girls aged between six and 14.

Mr Kapadia told the jury yesterday that the case against Black was circumstantial but added: “There are some crimes which are committed in darkness and secrecy. This is one of them.”

He added that amongst Black’s “splattering of denials” given to detectives during an interview at Gayfield police station on June 6 last year, he had admitted entering web search terms such as “teenage” and “young models” while surfing for adult pornography, but denied scouring the internet for child sex images.

Forensic computer experts were able to recover web searches for subjects such as “12-year-old having sex”, “naked kids” and “nude photos of sissy boys” from Black’s home computer.

Black, an art director in advertising and marketing, was involved in making television adverts until he was made redundant.

Black said he viewed adult pornography on the computer but denied ever searching for sexual images of children. When confronted with the forensic analysis of his hard drive during the police interview, Black said: “I don’t understand where they’ve come from.”

He added: “I can’t believe that was on my computer. Someone has put that on our computer. I would never have done that in my life. The computer could have been affected with some sort of virus.”