A convicted paedophile broke a court order by using library computers – the day he was released from prison.
Under the terms of a sexual harm prevention order first imposed in 2015, Victor Balfour was banned from using any internet-enabled device unless it can save the web history.
Despite being jailed in 2019 for, among other offences, using library computers in breach of the order the 68-year-old went to the Westgate Library in Oxford on November 11 and surfed the net.
His barrister, Lyall Thompson, told Oxford Crown Court on Thursday that he’d used the library computers, which wipe the user’s search history at the end of each browsing session, to try and find somewhere to stay and check his pension.
Balfour claimed not to have realised that he wasn’t allowed to use the library computers.
But that excuse was shot down by Judge Ian Pringle QC, who said: “He knew full well, having done this before – used a library computer before – it was against the order that had been made and he did it on the day he was released.”
His use of the Westgate computers was discovered by police officers from Thames Valley Police’s public protection unit when Balfour’s council worker told them he’d been spending a lot of time at the library.
Last month, Balfour, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty at the magistrates’ court to breaching his sexual harm prevention order by using the computers between November 11 and 15.
Prosecuting, Emily Matin said he had 33 convictions for 97 offences. The sexual harm prevention order was first imposed in 2015 at Cardiff Crown Court after he was convicted of having indecent images of children.
The order was extended indefinitely in 2019 when he was jailed for 32 months for breaching the order and going to meet what he thought was a girl with whom he had been chatting online.
Mr Thompson, mitigating, asked the judge to defer sentence to give his client a chance to prove himself. He was now living in Weymouth.
Judge Pringle agreed to the request, bailing Balfour to return to Oxford Crown Court on April 22 next year.
“It’s your last chance to engage properly and make sure you don’t fall foul of the sexual harm prevention order,” he said.
Deferring sentence for four months, the judge added: “What I am expecting of you, Mr Balfour, first of all is that in that four months you don’t commit any offence whatsoever. Do you understand? That means you cannot access computers that do not save the history.”
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