Martin Kidd – is it right to ban a paedophile from owning...

    Martin Kidd – is it right to ban a paedophile from owning a car?

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    Photo from the York Press

    Introduction

    In March 2015, Martin Kidd was sentenced to three years in prison for grooming three girls aged 14 and 15. This was against a backdrop of similar offending over the last few years.

    This month (May 2015), he was made the subject of a SHPO (Sexual Harm Prevention Order) – a relatively new order that is a replacement for the ‘old’ Sexual Offences Prevention Order.

    SHPO

    So far, so normal. What is unusual here is the terms of the Order. Some of the terms are a prohibition from:

    • owning any vehicle
    • using more than one mobile phone, computer or other electronic equipment to access the internet
    • being in the same car as a child under 16 without an adult in charge of the car
    • living or staying in the same house as a child
    • having unsupervised contact with any child under 16 without permission from the child’s parents

    These, apart from the first one, are fairly standard for someone who is a high risk offender. The order banning Mr Kidd from owning any vehicle is one that, as far as we are aware, have never been made before.

    Comment

    We imagine that this will be appealed. Is it ‘necessary’ to ban Mr Kidd from owning a car? It is unclear that this is the case. As someone who doesn’t own a car, I find it strange when people say that they are ‘essential’, but many people would think so.

    Also, can it be said that a lesser restriction would not suffice?

    There is also an issue about the limitation on Mr Kidd’s access to technology. It is hard to imagine how someone could actually play a part in much of modern life without access to it.

    In light of that, whilst it is obvious that Mr Kidd’s internet usage should be limited and monitored, is the seeming prohibition on owning a phone and a computer a reasonable one? It is, in fairness, unclear whether this is limited to just one of each (which may be reasonable) or not.

    If there is an appeal, then we will find out.

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    Dan is a barrister at 2 Dr. Johnson’s Buildings practising in crime.

    5 COMMENTS

    1. Also, the prohibition as to his ownership of a vehicle doesn’t really address the mischief at which it is (presumably) aimed – it would not be a breach of the order to rent a vehicle, or borrow one from a friend. The mischief is presumably not the ownership of a vehicle but the use of or access to a vehicle.

      This is an issue with the requirement that terms of behaviour orders should be tailored to each individual case – it requires the judge and counsel to be extra-vigilant when discussing the terms, both as to the necessity/scope but also the specific wording. It seems to have gone a little wrong in this case.

    2. I read the prohibition (from your article) as banning more than one of any single device. Presumably he could have a “clean” phone/computer (fully accessible to those supervising) and another used for illegal purposes which is hidden.

      Thus he is not prevented from enjoying normal access to the internet, but any attempt to hide alternate devices is automatically punishable.

    3. My HP company owns my car. I am the registered keeper but I don’t think I am the owner.

      Living or staying in the same house with a child? If he rents a room and then a family with a child moves in is he expected to go?

      More than one phone or computer? What’s wrong with the usual order under which he must make his phone or computer available for inspection and must not install software which wipes the history clean?

      This does not seem well thought out.

    4. If your wording is correct as to the restrictions then “owning any vehicle” certainly does mean a friend could register a vehicle and loan it to him. It raises the question of working as well in which a vehicle may be a necessity.
      It’s an odd order as it seems restrictive for no real purpose unless he has a history of using motor vehicles to “groom” but surely that was done via the net which explains the computer restriction.

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