Blind man claims he didn't realise he was viewing child porn of 'the worst variety'

UK man accused of possessing 71 obscene downloaded images of children.

Man accused of downloading child pornography says he didn't know it contained illegal images due to blindness.iStock

A British man accused of downloading and viewing child pornography has claimed that he was unaware the pictures depicted underage children because he is blind.

Andrew Shaw, 44, faces charges on three offences for being found in possession of 71 obscene images of children under the age of 16. The Lancashire man allegedly downloaded the material onto his computer, with 12 of the images of "the worst variety", reports the Telegraph.

Shaw was accompanied by a black Labrador guide dog during a hearing at Blackpool Magistrates Court. His wife, who is also registered as blind, attended the hearing to support her husband and was aided by a white Labrador guide dog.

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"This is an unusual case as my client is registered blind," said Shaw's lawyer, Allan Cobain. "He has no sight in one eye and only a small amount in the other."

"It may be argued that difficulty with his vision makes it difficult for him to put an age to images he downloads. He may think he is looking at 16-year-olds," Cobain reasoned, while also indicating that Shaw would be pleading guilty to some or all of the offences.

Cobain asked magistrates to adjourn proceedings in the hope that the Crown Prosecution Service would reexamine Shaw's file with a view to giving his client a caution. Shaw had been under investigation for over a year in relation to the offences.

This request was granted, however the lawyer asserted that he wishes to keep the case before magistrates as opposed to Crown Court. Shaw was also granted bail.

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