Sex offender blames ‘fear of homophobia’ for breaching court order
A convicted sex offender said he defied a police ban on deleting his browsing history because he was scared of people finding out he was gay.
John George Potter, a 53-year-old landlord in Burnley, was ordered not to wipe his history after he was convicted of possessing indecent photographs of children in June 2014.
But Potter, who lives with his tenants, used an incognito browser while looking at adult gay pornography, Burnley Magistrates Court has heard.
According to the Burnley Express, Potter said the tablet was “communal” and that he used the browser – which automatically deletes all online activity – because he was worried housemates would discover his sexuality.
His solicitor, Daniel Frazer, said Potter did not know the incognito browser was wiping his history, telling the court: “He didn’t want his fellow housemates to know his sexual orientation.
“He didn’t want them to know he was gay. The tablet is communal. He allows his housemates to use his laptop.
“He says that was the reason why he was using that particular style of browsing. He didn’t know it deletes his history.”
But Alex Mann, speaking for the prosecution, said: “The defendant has been on the internet in such a way that he doesn’t store what he has been using.
“The Crown says whilst there isn’t any evidence of any similar offences on his device, there wouldn’t be because he is not storing it. It doesn’t mean indecent images weren’t there. It means we can’t check.”
The bench chairwoman said Potter’s actions constituted “a direct breach that does go to the heart of the reason for this order.”
After he admitted breaching the order between 1 December 2016 and 5 February 2016, Potter was committed on bail to be sentenced at Burnley Crown Court on 10 April.