A British student found possessing child porn has been set free on compassionate grounds.
His studies would be ruined if he was jailed, judge Gareth Hawkesworth observed. Besides, it would be cruel and pointless, the judge felt.
The 21-year-old Jonathan Jenkins was instead given a four-month suspended sentence. He had been caught with 293 indecent images on his computer when police raided his Cambridge University accommodation.
Jenkins, a former Selwyn College student and who now studies in Bath, pleaded guilty to 15 counts of making indecent images of children and one count of possession at Cambridge Crown Court on Friday.
Claude Knights, director of children's charity Kidscape, said: "The Jonathan Jenkins case highlights the alarming fact that an increasing number of teenagers are developing an obsession with pornography and indecent images generally, as the internet beams these into their bedrooms.
"In the light of these concerns regarding the long-term effects on their mental health and behaviour, we do need sentences that reflect the severity of downloading vile images of children.
"A four-month suspended sentence does not send out the required strong message and does not act as a deterrent.
"The concern about the interruption of his studies will be read with some anger by the victims of child abuse."
It is the second time that Judge Hawkesworth has sparked controversy after he allowed Cambridge University professor Nicholas Hammond to walk free last September.
Hammond had more than 1,000 child pornography images on his computer - some featuring babies just two days old - but escaped with a 12 month sentence suspended for two years.
Five of the images Jenkins downloaded, which were of girls aged nine to 15, were classed as level five pornography - the most serious classification on the Copine Scale, used to assess the severity of such images.
The court heard how Jenkins' shocking photos and video clips were found among a larger stash of adult porn.
Sentencing Jenkins, Judge Hawkesworth said: "This is perhaps a frightening example of how younger and younger people are gaining access to pornography and illegal pornography via the internet.
"You say you have grown out of it, but it is likely that the images you viewed as a young man may have a longer lasting effect on your behaviour and personal relationships than perhaps you credit."
The student was also ordered to sign on to the sex offenders' register and given a two-year community order with supervision.
He was banned from contacting children other than his relatives and ordered to inform police of his address over the next seven years, Telegraph reported.