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CHILD PORN IN CARTOON STYLE CONVICTED; Man downloaded Tomb Raider-style pictures.

Byline: By GARETH LIGHTFOOT

A MAN who downloaded "Tomb Raider"-style pictures of computer-generated child pornography has been convicted by a Teesside jury.

Robul Hoque had sophisticated realistic images of children on his hard drive seized by police in October 2006.

The unusual case involving computer graphics is thought to be the first of its type and an important test case.

Hoque, 32, told the Gazette: "I haven't set out to break the law in any way, shape or form.

"If I'd had any sort of inkling these were illegal, I would have told the police about them myself.

I don't go looking for child porn. I'm not attracted to kids.

I'm not interested in kids."

He denied making nine indecent "pseudo-photographs" of a child, charges dating back to July and August 2006.

After just under two hours' consideration yesterday, a jury unanimously found him guilty on six counts, and cleared him of the remaining three at Teesside Crown Court.

Jurors were told they should convict if they concluded that a picture looked like a photo.

"It is about child pornography," prosecutor David Brooke told the court.

He said the computer in Hoque's Middlesbrough home revealed thousands of cartoon- like images, some crude, some sophisticated.

"Perhaps the equivalent you'll have seen is something like Lara Croft - Tomb Raider.

"These computer-generated images are intended to look as realistic as possible. As technology's moved on, they've become more realistic."

Much of the material was not illegal, but Hoque was charged over nine specific still images.

"Although they are not genuine, they appear to be a photograph," said Mr Brooke.

He said two of the images were entirely computer-generated.

The other seven contained parts of photographs in the backgrounds.

In a police interview, Hoque admitted downloading the images but denied being interested in child pornography.

After the verdicts, Judge Peter Bowers adjourned sentencing until October 16.

Unemployed Hoque, who looks after his elderly mother and had no previous convictions, was bailed. He will be registered as a sex offender.

Outside court Ray Savage, a forensic computer analyst for Cleveland Police who has worked in the field for 13 years, said: "To my knowledge this is the first case of its kind.

"This certainly in my experience has been a test case.

"They are part photographs and part computer graphic. It's a mish-mash of the two.

"Nationally, I can't think of a case where this combination has taken place."

He said such cases previously involved cutting, pasting and merging of photos.

"Though no actual child has been abused, it helps to feed the demand."

Hoque, of Hardwick Road, South Bank, did not give evidence in his trial. He told the Gazette he came across the material through an internet search and became curious about comic-style pictures.

"I assumed they were legal," he said. "I assumed that everything was above board and OK. It was there in the public domain.

"I haven't been anywhere near any of that stuff since."

Harry Hadfield, Cleveland Crown Prosecution Service advocate and hi-tech crime specialist, gave charging advice in the "singularly unique" case.

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CONVICTED: Robul Hoque, right, was found guilty on six counts at Teesside Crown Court Picture by ANDREW GRAY
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Sep 26, 2008
Words:534
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