AG v Rowe

CourtRoyal Court
JudgeThe Deputy Bailiff
Judgment Date28 February 2011
Neutral Citation[2011] JRC 46B
Date28 February 2011

[2011] JRC 46B


(Samedi Division)


W. J. Bailhache, Q.C., Deputy Bailiff, and Jurats Tibbo, Clapham, Morgan, Kerley, Nicolle and Bullen.

The Attorney General
Trevor Michael Rowe

C. M. M. Yates, Esq., Crown Advocate.

Advocate C. R. Baglin for the Defendant.


Sex Offenders (Jersey) Law 2010.

Sexual Offences Act 2003.

AG -v- Forno [2011] JCA 022.

R -v- Hemsley [2010] 3 All ER 965.

AG -v- Rowe [2004] JRC 217.

R -v- Oliver Hartley & Baldwin [2003] 1 Cr. App. R. 28

AG -v- Forno [2010] JRC 130.

AG -v- Velosa [2011] JRC 026.

Sentencing by the Superior Number of the Royal Court, to which the accused was remanded by the Inferior Number on 17 th December, 2010, following guilty pleas to the following charges:

5 counts of: Making indecent photographs of children, contrary to Article 2(1)(a) of the Protection of Children (Jersey) Law 1994 (Counts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5).

6 counts of: Inciting the making of an indecent photograph of a child, contrary to Article 2(1)(a) of the Protection of Children (Jersey) Law 1994 (Counts 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11).

2 counts of: Distributing indecent photographs of children, contrary to Article 2(1)(c) of the Protection of Children (Jersey) Law 1994 (Counts 12 and 13).

1 count of: Securing unauthorised access to computer material, contrary to Article 2 of the Computer Misuse (Jersey) Law 1995 (Count 14).

Age : 27

Plea: Guilty.

Details of Offence:

At all material times Rowe lived with his parents at their home address. He used the anonymity of the internet over a period of years to contact (predominantly) female children and to draw them into displaying themselves to him sexually via webcam. He pretended to be a young teenage boy and in that guise he established and maintained contact with those whom he targeted.

The children concerned all used online social networking facilities which enabled them to send and receive on-line text messages to and from their friends in real-time. Rowe would register many different email addresses and open various instant messaging accounts for himself. The particular websites that he frequented did not cross-reference email addresses and screen names, and thus Rowe's criminal deceit was facilitated. Furthermore, although the sites were specifically set up so that users could show themselves on webcam, there was no obligation to do so. Because of his real age, Rowe chose to hide his appearance and use text only. He had literally dozens of online persona, and as far as his victims were concerned, he was a young teenage boy who was their age. If asked to reciprocate by showing himself on camera instead of just texting, Rowe made excuses as to why he could not do that. If pressed about his appearance, he would simply provide his victim with a suitable photograph of a teenage boy that he had taken at random from the internet.

Rowe would join chat/webcam sessions in the age group of 14 to 18 and would choose a person to chat to, normally a young girl. Despite the stipulated age range, many of the girls using these chat rooms are clearly younger than 14. After gaining the trust of those he was chatting to, he would progress to asking sexual questions. This would sometimes take two to three chat sessions to accomplish and he would cajole or encourage them to perform minor acts such as showing him their bra or asking what colour knickers they were wearing, before getting them to show him.

He would “video” record all these acts using his computer and then use the digital video recordings to threaten his victims into further more sexualised actions, which often included showing him their breasts and genitals, masturbating, or inserting objects into themselves. If they refused to comply with these further demands, he would tell them that he would infect their computers with viruses, distribute the recordings that he had made of them onto the internet, and tell their parents what they were doing.

In many of the films it is apparent that the victims are tearful and visibly distressed at the prospect of doing what Rowe required. It is also clear that Rowe would “direct” the girls to what he wanted them to do, as if he was a “movie director”. To ensure that his handiwork was recognised he would stamp the completed recorded movies and still images with a watermark.

The five offences under Article 2(1)(a) of the 1994 Law (Counts 1 to 5) involve the making of a total of 1,492 indecent photographs of children on various pieces of computer equipment and also on DVD. This figure can be further broken down as 324 films and 1,138 pictures (see below for detailed analysis). Out of the 324 movie files recovered, 277 were made by Rowe personally using on screen recording software during webcam chat sessions where he requested and directed the proceedings. Many of the illegal files had been disguised by saving them in obscure parts of the hard drive.

The six counts of inciting the making of an indecent photograph (Counts 6 to 11) involve specimen offences committed against five female children whose ages ranged from 10 years to just under 16 years. In addition to these six specific counts Rowe has asked that a total of 231 other similar offences be taken into consideration. The incitement of this huge number of offences took place in the main part over a 9 month period between May 2009 and 10 th February, 2010, although the two earliest counts on the schedule of TICs date back to the beginning of 2008. The majority of the incitement offences concern female children aged between 12 and 16 years, although three involve a boy aged between 12 and 14 years. Approximately eleven of the offences involved children aged around 10 years or younger. The images produced range from category 1 to category 4 on the Copine scale. Many of the children involved are seen to be visibly distressed at the time of the recording.

In total, approximately 135 different screen names were identified on the illegal photographs found on Rowe's computer hardware, meaning that in all likelihood around this many individual children under the age of 16 were targeted by Rowe and incited to make indecent photographs. Although two of the children were later able to be traced during the police investigation (and were able to confirm details of their interaction with Rowe) the vast majority of the children were identified by their online screen names alone or, in some cases, are unidentifiable. It is not believed that any of the children were local.

The distribution charges on the indictment reflect a particular technique that Rowe used to put pressure on the children. In order to prove that he was willing and capable of carrying out the threats, he would either send his victims a copy of a still picture that he had made from the recorded video footage, or alternatively direct them to a particular photo storage website onto which he had uploaded and thereby distributed the said photos (Count 13). On this website police eventually located eleven different galleries containing a total of 668 pictures. All of these pictures showed young females in various states of undress or action, and 159 were deemed to be indecent, all of which falling into category 1 on the Copine scale. Rowe would then continue to incite and record the child's indecent actions until they would go no further, after which he would move onto another victim. It is clear from the volume of material recovered that Rowe was often grooming several different children in this sort of sexualised behaviour at any one time. The distribution aspect of this case illustrates the depth of depravity that Rowe was prepared to plumb to pressurise his victims. In one case he specifically sent twenty indecent photographs of an 11 year old girl (taken from a film that he had incited that the girl make) to that child's mother whilst attempting to blackmail the mother into providing naked photographs of herself (Count 12).

Finally Rowe committed one offence under the Computer Misuse (Jersey) Law 1995 which involved him gaining access to the instant messaging facilities belonging to a 15 year old female child (Count 14). During a police investigation a male school friend of the said girl confirmed that at some time between 25 th January, 2010, and 7 th February, 2010, someone purporting to be the girl had unsuccessfully tried to engage him in sexualised conversation. He said there had been a brief discussion about the girl doing things on webcam for her boyfriend. The friend was aware that the girl did not have a boyfriend and suspected an impostor. The following day he sought verification from the girl herself who confirmed that it had not been her. A second female friend gave a similar account and subsequent forensic analysis of the relevant computers showed that a computer with the IP address matching that of Rowe accessed the said 15 year old girl's email account at the relevant times.

Rowe was arrested in February 2010 after one of his 11 year old victims and her mother (the subject in Count 12) contacted the UK police, who were in turn able to trace Rowe back to Jersey. That particular victim had been in communication with Rowe over a 12 month period, during which time he had groomed her (with threats) to reveal herself to him sexually. He had communicated with her not only using the computer, but with text messages and phone calls, contacting the girl fifteen to twenty times per day and sending pornographic pictures. On one occasion he had specifically cajoled the girl into finding a dildo and sucking it on camera. He later made threats to her mother that he would distribute the images of her daughter if she did not do the same thing.

During interview Rowe admitted using “web cam” sites to communicate with children and confirmed having various email accounts. He estimated that he had contacted in the region of one hundred children through this method. He admitted that his...

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    ...Offenders (Jersey) Law 2010. AG -v- Godson and Crowley [2013] JRC 091 . AG -v- N [2013] JRC 052 . AG -v- N [2011] JRC 157 . AG -v- Rowe [2011] JRC 046B . Protection of Children (Jersey) Law 1994. Superior Number Sentencing —indecent photographs of children — making, possession, advertising ......

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