Norwich Crown Court heard how 40-year-old Lee Daly had downloaded a so-called “pedophile manual” from the darknet. The man read the 170 page document, but he never acted on any of the information contained within it. Police investigators reported that he had not downloaded or viewed any child pornography either—he had simply visited a darknet child abuse site and downloaded a “guide” on pedophilia.
The prosecutor, Martin Ivory, did not say why the police searched Daly’s home in the first place. However, when the police conducted a house search, they seized his tablet that contained the manual. Daly said that he had no sexual interest in children, but accessed the darknet for pornography. The adult kind. Regardless of why Daly visited the darknet, Ivory said, the man had still knowingly and intentionally read a guide on child abuse.“There was a warning on the manual setting out that it may be illegal to be in possession of such an item,” he said. “Plainly it is.”
This guide is far from the first guide to make an appearance in a darknet court case. Although, in most cases, the guide is almost secondary to other crimes against children, such as downloading, producing, or distributing child pornography. In a handful of cases, law enforcement managed to catch the author of the guide. But Daly, according to his line of defense, merely read the guide. He claimed that he had not downloaded or viewed any illegal material besides the guide. He also maintained that he had no interest in acting on anything the guide portrayed.
Court Recorder Guy Ayers told Daly that “it was fortunate in my view you were apprehended relatively quickly.” He accepted that Daly had not acted on the instructions in the manual, but the mere fact that he had read the document indicated Daly posed a potential threat to society. “This is a very serious offence. You had chosen to go on what is known as the Dark web and had downloaded a document that is a pedophile manual,” Ayers said. “It is clear from other use you appeared to have an interest in underage people. It makes this a very serious offence.”
Andrew Oliver, Daly’s defense, explained that Daly suffered from a mental condition and needed help, but had no interest in harming children in any way. “He has not committed an offence against any child and he said he did not intend to.” Furthermore, Oliver argued, the fact that his client had no illegal or indecent images on his computer proved how little of an interest in children Daly had developed.
Daly admitted downloading and possessing the guide. In return, Recorder Ayers passed down an eight month sentence, suspended upon two years and one-on-one mental health treatment. To help “put aside the thoughts you had that led you to download this sort of material.” Daly will also spend 10 years on the sex offender registry.