A Clitheroe solicitor has been suspended after being caught in possession of indecent photographs of young girls.
A Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal on June 2nd heard Michael Loveridge (62), who has practiced in Clitheroe for 24 years, was found in possession of four indecent images and a video of children in July 2014.
Loveridge, who ran his own self-titled firm in Well Terrace, which carried out litigation, personal injury, residential conveyancing, commercial property and business affairs, was cautioned by police on January 27th, 2015, for the offence of possessing indecent photographs. The tribunal heard Loveridge had been forced to dispose of his firm, which involved paying off run-off insurance costs of £40,000.
Mr Nick Trevette (representing) told the tribunal in London, that the images were at the lowest category of seriousness, and had involved possibly 14 to 16-year-olds, rather than young children. He also explained to the Tribunal that Loveridge had not visited or used sites for which any payment was required and had not used the so-called “dark web”.
He added: “[The Respondent] has accepted that he had searched the internet to view pornographic images, but has no interest in young girls or children... He accepts that he did, on numerous occasions, visit various commercial websites advertising themselves as showing schoolgirls/cheerleaders and so on that were clearly aimed at people with an interest in teenage girls, like himself.
“There was a significant amount of adult pornography that he had deliberately saved on his computer, and which was completely legal.” Loveridge admitted the allegations in full and was suspended by The Solicitors’ Regulation Authority from practice for a year and ordered to pay costs of £3,000.