It is, therefore, necessary to discuss the outcomes in the terms of assuming the images were level 1 and 2 images as a community sentence would not be appropriate if the level of the images was higher than this. In the case of Rumbold v General Medical Council  EWHC 2569 the defendant was appealing against his suspension by the GMC after he had pleaded guilty to downloading indecent images. At the trial, Rumbold was ordered to serve a 3-year community rehabilitation order and a treatment programme. The sentence handed due to the defendant reflected the low level of the images downloaded as well as the previous good character of the accused.
The suspension was upheld as it was believed that he posed a significant danger to the child patients he might be treating. This case can be contrasted with the case of R. v Hirst  EWCA Crim 1468 in which the accused had significantly more images than in the first case and also the images found contained level 5 images. In this case, the court was duty bound to issuing a custodial sentence due to the level of images found on the system.
A prison sentence in these circumstances is only likely to make things worse for the accused who has already lost contact with his children and wife. Research has shown that the use of custodial sentences does not address the potential for re-offending and someone sentenced to prison is more likely to re-offend in the future than someone who is treated in the community and made to attend a treatment programme. The case of R. v Ripley (Jonathan)  EWCA Crim 417 goes against the general sentence guidelines.
In this case, the original sentence of 2 ½ years was replaced with a community sentence despite some of the images that had been downloaded were level 4 images. The court had regard to the presentence report which described him as a vulnerable young man who had been subjected to sexual abuse as a child.
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