An ex-Hackney Labour councillor who was caught with child abuse images has successfully challenged a restriction which banned him from being in contact with children. 

Thomas Dewey, 37, was elected as a councillor just six days before officers found “sadistic” images of children being subjected to sexual acts on his work laptop during a home raid. 

In August last year Dewey was given one-year prison sentence suspended for two years after he pleaded guilty to possessing indecent images of children.

He was also made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) which banned him from having any contact or communication with children unless it was inadvertent or with the permission of the child’s parent or guardian. 

But on Wednesday (May 22), Court of Appeal judges decided that this was not a necessary or proportionate restriction and removed it from the SHPO.

A written judgement from Lord Justice Green, Mrs Justice May and Mrs Justice Yip said: “Despite extensive analysis of all 10 devices taken from the appellant police found no evidence of any attempt at contact with children, whether through internet chatrooms or in any other way, on the part of the appellant.” 

The remaining parts of the SHPO impose restrictions on Dewey’s internet use including ordering that he hand his devices to police officers for inspection upon request. 

The restrictions will last for ten years. 

Hackney Gazette: Tom Dewey pictured on election night Tom Dewey pictured on election night (Image: Julia Gregory)

Sadistic images 

Wood Green previously heard that National Crime Agency (NCA) officers received four tipline reports after Dewey uploaded indecent images to his online Google Drive.  

Police arrested him at his home in Hertford Road, Hackney, on April 29, 2022, and five devices including a work laptop were seized.  

The images found showed penetrative and sadistic acts being performed on young children as well as images involving scenes of serious violence for the intention of sexual arousal.    

Despite his arrest, Dewey remained on the ballot paper and six days later, on May 6, he was elected as a Labour councillor to the De Beauvoir ward.  

He resigned 11 days later (May 16), triggering a by-election which was won by Labour’s Joe Walker.  

Labour said they were only notified of Dewey’s arrest on May 16 by the council’s chief executive, and at that point he was suspended from the party. 

The Hackney Gazette later uncovered hundreds of previously secret council emails about the paedophile scandal that brought down the borough’s mayor. 

The messages, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, raise fresh questions about whether key players did everything they should have done after learning councillor Tom Dewey was under criminal investigation. 

The messages contain allegations of a Labour cover-up, which members claimed could have amounted to a safeguarding failure. 

Former Major General John Henderson conducted a review into the scandal.

The independent review concluded very little could have been done to stop Dewey from becoming an elected councillor, despite his arrest for possessing indecent images of children.

Head of the internal review John Henderson told councillors during a scrutiny panel hearing on January 30 that it was “rather unfortunate” that neither Dewey or Mr Glanville responded to his request for an interview.

Henderson, a former chief executive at Staffordshire County Council, said Dewey was a “very ambitious young man,” who targeted the council as a “springboard” for his career, working as a council officer for two years before running for office.

Henderson said that in strictly legal terms, Dewey had been a councillor for “about 10 hours” from the moment he signed his councillor declaration and his resignation.