Ex-councillor ‘not privy’ to computer use

Julian Mineur
Julian Mineur
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An ex-councillor accused of downloading indecent material about children claimed there were no restrictions on anyone using his computer equipment at Blackpool’s Supporting Our Brave shop.

Julian Mineur also told the jury in his Preston Crown Court trial there was limited supervision of people doing that at the Bank Hey Street premises – and two passwords of his were generally known.

At the same time the former Ministry of Defence worker insisted he had not downloaded any of the indecent material found on two computers and a hard drive.

Mineur, 59, has been giving evidence at his trial where he denies five counts of allegedly possessing or making such images.

The court has heard how police carried out searches while he was living at addresses on Sackville Avenue and Common Edge Road, Blackpool.

Between 2007 and 2011 he was a Tory councillor and had been elected to the Greenlands ward in Bispham.

He also told the court at the start of his evidence that he had been involved in organising events for veterans - including the 60th anniversary of the Second World War which was the biggest nationally - and was employed by the MOD for a while.

The Supporting Our Brave shop went on to be established, with him as a director.

The first computer in the case was a work one, not a personal one.

“Staff, volunteers, service users, families of service users all had access to it”, he said, saying people were allowed to take it home. He had no records of who used them.

“It was an open policy”, he explained.

Mineur said he had never downloaded indecent material to it.

He had seen what he called inappropriate images, but if he saw anything like that, he deleted it.

Anyone could have had an opportunity to transfer documents and information.

He added “I wasn’t privy to everything going on regarding that computer.”

Mineur said a second computer in the case was used by him in his employment and as a councillor. That also was used at the shop.

He used software known as LimeWire to download music and films. There were no restrictions on anyone using it.

Similarly, a hard drive, also seized by police, was used at Supporting Our Brave.

There were no restrictions on anyone using that.

“Anybody could have had access to a password if they required them” he told the court. “We all knew what the passwords were.”

His barrister Chris Hudson asked him: “Have you personally downloaded any child pornography onto any of those three items?”

Mineur replied “not at all sir” and that included at the shop at any of his addreses.

He confirmed he had spotted what he thought could be child pornography, through internet images, but added “If I had seen it, I would delete it, without a shadow of a doubt”.

Earlier in the trial, his partner Lauren Bowden gave evidence, describing him as an “old fashioned gentleman in the true meaning of the word”.

Asked if she had ever had any suspicions that he might be interested in child porn, she replied “None whatsoever”.

She spoke of them tending to sit like book ends, at either end of the sofa, each with a lap top.

He had never placed any restrictions on her using his computers and in fact, they could be used by anybody.