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Sex offender downloaded ‘secret’ browser
A REGISTERED sex offender who was caught using a secret internet browser which hid his online activities claimed it had been a “lapse” while playing on his games console.
Gawan Jake Newton, of Ilminster and formerly of Taunton, was found to have used a Google search for “Tor Browser”, an internet download which enables any browsing history to be immediately deleted after use.
When police turned up at his address for an unannounced visit they took some of his hardware devices and found he had downloaded the browser which he claimed he had done to get around a region lock and “did not think about it” at the time.
His solicitor Greg Peters said it was a “blip” which had not been pre-planned or installed for any malicious purposes.
However when he appeared in the dock before Somerset Magistrates at Yeovil they told the defendant that they did not believe the defendant’s explanation saying they found it had been “deliberate behaviour”.
Newton, 25, of Court Barton, pleaded guilty that on October 22 last year at Ilminster he did something, namely used a device that did not record and deleted his internet browsing history that he was prohibited from doing by a sexual offences prevention order (SOPO) made by Taunton Magistrates on May 29, 2012.
Prosecutor Emma Lenanton said that Newton was convicted of sexual offences in May 2012 and made subject to a SOPO which ordered him to comply with a whole raft of restrictions and notification requirements.
Part of those requirements were that Newton was prohibited from using any device that is capable of accessing the internet unless it displays the browsing history use.
“On the day in question a police officer attended the defendant’s home address to do an unannounced visit and he was asked to surrender hard drives from his gaming PC that gives him access to the internet along with a memory card,” she said.
“Examination of these revealed that on a certain date he had performed a Google search for Tor Browser and then went to the downloads page and downloaded the browser package.
“This constitutes a breach of the SOPO because the browser operates that as soon as you stop using the device, it deletes your history”.
Newton was voluntarily interviewed at Chard police station where he admitted the offence.
Miss Lenanton said the prosecution maintained it was a “deliberate behaviour” on the defendant’s part as specific searches have to be made for these type of browsers and he would have known that it deleted his internet history.