Comedian Tom Binns Avoids Jail Time Despite Being Caught With Thousands of 'Indecent Images of Children'

Binns was deemed unlikely to re-offend and not a risk to the public.

A British comedian was sentenced after being discovered to have more than 35,000 indecent images of children. Tom Binns, who co-writes and stars in BBC 1's Hospital People, pleaded guilty last November to five counts of making indecent images of children as well as one charge of possessing a prohibited image. The 53-year-old was found to have thousands of images across multiple devices, Derby crown court heard. On Aug. 17, Binns, who has no previous convictions to his name, was not sentenced to prison but rather was given a suspended sentence, The Guardian reported. Prosecutor Lauren Fisher stated that there had been found 104 indecent images in category A – the most serious – along with 411 in category B and 34,946 in category C. A total of three prohibited images, as well as a number of moving images in categories B and C, were found, she added. Nevertheless, the court heard that some of the images may have been duplicates of each other. Fisher said all the images were downloaded between March 26 and Nov. 21, 2020.

A search warrant was executed at Binns's home in Derbyshire, England, which resulted in his arrest and the seizure of 39 devices, including an iPad, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro. Fisher said: "During the investigation, it was established that a third party of Mr Binns's partner had been asked to sell several devices on behalf of Mr Binns. Those devices were also checked." It was discovered that the devices, which included two hard drives, contained thousands of both accessible and inaccessible images, which included 25,000 images that were inaccessible according to category C. Matthew Hayes, who represented Binns in court, said that he was not aware that Binns had committed any other offenses since the incident he related in court. He also referred to the impact of prescription medication Binns had taken at the time, but did not elaborate on that issue. According to a previous statement Binns made to the comedy news site Chortle, he said: "Over two years ago, while under the influence of an overdose of prescription drugs for ADHD, which induced obsessive-compulsive disorder, I downloaded and deleted a very large amount of adult pornography over a short period of time. "Within those downloads, it appears there was some child pornography which I had not sought out nor wanted. I have no sexual interest in children. I have taken and passed a polygraph stating I have no sexual interest in children. "I am bitterly upset at the hurt this has caused my family, for which I take full responsibility. I will take my punishment for this and hope that my family are not further harmed by my actions."

The judge, Shaun Smith KC, described Binns' offending as "simply unacceptable" but deemed him unlikely to re-offend and not a risk to the public. It was decided by Smith that Binns would serve a combined 10-month sentence, suspended for 15 months and that he would be made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order and placed on the sex offender register for 10 years. He said, "You are sickened by what it was that you were downloading and looking at, and quite frankly, you don't need me to tell you that you should be because this kind of offending has real victims. "It is right to say that had it not been for Covid, had it not been for the medication you were taking at that period of time, you would not be before the court, but the fact is that you are. You have returned to the law-abiding life that you were living before these offenses." After the sentencing, the National Crime Agency's Holly Triggs said: "Tom Binns deliberately collected a huge number of indecent images of children. Behind each one is an abused child who has had their wellbeing, innocence and privacy violated. Demand for images is a major driver of child sexual abuse globally, so we at the NCA are unrelenting in our commitment to protecting children from sexual abuse and bringing serious offenders to justice."