South Tyneside sex offender back in court over new device breach
A South Tyneside man convicted of child sex offences has been hauled back into court for breaching his punishment order.
Peter Smith, 61, of Copley Avenue, Whiteleas, dropped a clanger by using his new internet enabled phone to speak to his police monitoring officer.
Under the terms of a sexual harm prevention order (SHPO) imposed in 2020, he must tell police in advance of buying any device which can link to the world wide web.
His blunder led the lawman to his door on Monday, July 25 last year, where Smith confirmed he had not registered his new device with Northumbria Police.
At the borough’s magistrates’ court, he pleaded guilty to a single charge of breaching his 10-year SHPO.
It was put in place by Newcastle Crown Court after he had admitted charges of attempting to incite a child to sexual activity and attempting sexual communication with a child.
Smith was caught chatting to what he believed was a schoolgirl but who was in fact a member of Justice4Kids, an internet child safety group.
He was also sentenced to a three-year community order and placed on the sex offender register for a decade.
His case judge said it was troubling Smith had believed the decoy to be a child taken from the care of her mother and living with an aunt, making her “particularly vulnerable”.
At his latest hearing, prosecutor Emma O’Hegarty said: “The defendant was speaking to a police detective constable when he said the phone he was on was an internet enabled device.
“The officer attended the property and seized the mobile phone. The defendant was interviewed.
“He said it had been an oversight and that hadn’t given it any thought.”
Syed Ahmed, defending, said: “He has made full and frank admissions from the outset with the police.
“In reality, this is what I would describe as a minor breach that falls just short of reasonable excuse.
“He contacted the police to give them his new telephone number and when on the phone, he was asked if it was capable of accessing the internet.
“He admitted that it was and that it had just been an oversight.”
Magistrates declined jurisdiction and granted Smith unconditional bail to be sentenced at the crown court on Monday, March 13.