Re Spackman possessing tens of thousands of child rape images . I've posted this before but there was a bloke called Nigel Nessling who was friendly with the McCanns and who was the person most responsible for "McCann trolls dossier" that saw Sky news journalist Martin Brunt hound Brenda Leyland to her death , was caught with 40,000 child abuse images including over 800 in the most serious A category and yet he escaped a prison sentenceThis guy Roger Spackman, a Labour Councillor came up before the judge just before Joyce.
Paedophile Labour councillor who worked in children's home walks free
Not disagreeing with your points, but "just viewing" creates a demand for more and more images.The Government sentencing guidelines here on page 9 seem to suggest the starting point for sentencing is one year's custody. Then you have to factor in any mitigation as presented by the defence, such as an early guilty plea, health issues etc. In Joyce's case I suspect his lawyer spent a lot of time telling the judge that as his client was quite well known he would be particularly vulnerable inside.
My understanding is that judges are reluctant to send such individuals to prison for 'just' viewing indecent images on a computer because the prison population in general is overflowing, sex offenders are more expensive to accommodate than normal prisoners and that people who download indecent pictures of children in fact represent a low risk to the public. Apparently the shame of such of conviction means that offenders tend to lose a lot of their social network, get shunned by their family and tend to keep their heads down.