EDITOR’S COMMENT: Decision to set school governor pervert free is a disgrace

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SOMETIMES, just sometimes I’m left scratching my head.

One of my passions as a newspaper Editor is to have my reporters in court every week, documenting justice as it is handed down in the town. And most of the time, the court gets it right.

That’s why I’ve doubled the space allocated to justice in the paper every week, and that’s why I am ploughing more resource and effort into making sure justice is seen to be done in this town.

But as I have said twice previously already, sometimes you really do have to feel for the police, the detectives, the law enforcement agencies who bust a gut to get criminals in front of the beak.

I am referring to the case of a 56-year-old former primary school governor who has held his hands up and admitted possessingthousands of indecent photos of children who are said to be ‘posing’ in erotic and sexually suggestive ways.

A man who has held a position of trust on a PRIMARY SCHOOL has come clean and admitted that his depraved habit has been going on since 2006.

Bernard Connarty, 56, of Treeneuk Close, Ashgate admitted the half-dozen charges against him relating to making indecent photos of children, and yet, the magistrates of this town allowed him to walk free.

Surely that can’t be right? Surely such a breach of trust, over such a long period of time warrants some kind of custodial sentence. There will be parents, pupils, teachers and staff who have worked with Connarty previously who will feel completely betrayed and violated, and yet the law decrees that his crimes deserve nothing more than a slap on the wrist.

What kind of message does that send out to other people? Surely a sentence handed down by a magistrate is not only to punish the offender, but also to set a precedent for anyone contemplating the same offence?

Now I’m no legal expert, but I would like Chesterfield Magistrates’ Court to explain to the Derbyshire public how such an offence can be dealt with so leniently, because from where I’m sitting, the law’s an ass!

by James Mitchinson, Editor