Man ‘sent sick videos of real ISIS beheadings’ to group of friends on WhatsApp
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A man who "sent sick videos of real-life ISIS beheadings" to a group of pals on WhatsApp has gone on trial.
Harry Smith, 25, shared footage of murders, torture, suicides and fatal accidents as a "twisted form of entertainment" to pals, a court has heard despite none of his mates complaining.
Police uncovered the dark videos when they seized the phone of someone in the WhatsApp group for a separate matter.
The fact Mr Smith's friends had no problem with the videos was "irrelevant" according to prosecutors who said the nature of the content meant a "line had been crossed".
Smith, from Guernsey, denies two charges of sending video clips that were grossly offensive or of an obscene character via the telecommunications network.
Opening the case for the prosecution at the magistrates' court, Crown Advocate Chris Dunford said the videos came with a health warning as they contained extreme violence and upsetting incidents.
He described it as a complicated and unusual case as there were no live witnesses and the defendant would not be giving evidence.
The offences are said to have been committed in April 2019 when the defendant sent a total of 31 videos to a closed WhatsApp group called Failing Electricians. It had 32 members and there were eight recipients.
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He was charged originally with four offences but two were being dismissed. The second remaining charge was a roll-up one which reflected the continuing nature of the offences.
Advocate Dunford said some were snuff videos – clips of actual homicide. None of the clips had been masked or pixelated in any way and they were horrendous to view, he said.
"It's hard to conceive of other videos that could be more offending," he added.
Defending, Advocate Thomas Crawford said it was not disputed that the videos were of an offensive or obscene character and that his client had caused them to be received by other members of the group.
It was disputed though that his actions had met the legal and factual niceties which formed the base of the prosecution's case.
Advocate Crawford said added there was no evidence that he looked at the videos before forwarding them on and no messages were attached.
The recipients had also exchanged material of a similar nature but had not been investigated, he claimed.
Judge Graeme McKerrell said he would re-convene the court at a later date to announce his decision.
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