Disgraced ex-Labour councillor has child contact ban lifted following appeal

Tom Dewey at the election count in May 2022. Photograph: Julia Gregory

A former Hackney Labour councillor who was convicted of possessing indecent images has had a ban on his contact with children removed.

Tom Dewey, who resigned six days after being elected in 2022 when the council was informed of his arrest, appealed against the restriction at a hearing in March this year.

Dewey received a suspended sentence in August 2023, having earlier pleaded guilty to his offences, and was made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO).

The order barred him from “having any contact or communication of any kind with any child under the age of 18″.

However, an appeal ruling handed down by Mrs Justice May this week has removed that restriction in its entirety.

Dewey’s lawyer, Ms R Sadler, had argued that certain terms of the SHPO were “unnecessary”, pointing out that police found no evidence that Dewey had attempted contact with children, whether through internet chatrooms or in any other way.

No appeals were made against other restrictions imposed on Dewey by the SHPO, which include controls on his use of phones and internet-enabled devices.

The appeal judgment states: “The seriousness of the Dewey’s offending was in the time over which he had downloaded indecent images of children, the number of devices which he used and the number and nature of Cat A images, showing gross abuse of teenage boys.

“An order which restricted and controlled his continuing use of internet-enabled devices was always going to be necessary and Ms Sadler has never suggested otherwise.”

Dewey first came to the attention of National Crime Agency officers when they received tip-offs that he had uploaded indecent images to his online storage.

At around 7am on 29 April 2022, plain-clothed police officers executed a search warrant at Dewey’s address – a home he shared with former Hackney mayor Philip Glanville. 

On being told that the premises were to be searched, Dewey replied: “I suspect you’ll need things such as electronic devices.”

He identified a number of devices, including his mobile phone and two laptops, for which he provided the pin numbers and passwords, as well as his email address and password. 

Ten devices were seized and analysed.

On five of those devices, police found five category A, 41 category B, and 203 category C indecent images of children.

They also discovered 78 extreme pornographic images and 1,523 prohibited images of children.

In July 2023, Dewey pleaded guilty at West London Magistrates’ Court to four offences of making (ie. downloading) or possessing indecent images of children and one offence of possessing extreme pornographic images. 

A month later, the former councillor, then aged 37, was sentenced to a total of 12 months imprisonment suspended for two years. 

Prior to his arrest, Dewey had been employed in a senior role at a political consultancy firm, Kanda Consulting, but lost that job as a result of his offending. 

The appeal judgement notes that Dewey “appears to have been open with his family from the moment of his arrest; we have seen the letters of support from his parents and his sister which were before the sentencing judge”. 

His family refer to “Dewey’s difficulties as a gay man with political ambitions and his increasing isolation during his late 20s and 30s”. 

They also draw attention to the “steps he has taken to confront his offending behaviour and to reset his life following his arrest”.

The circumstances surrounding Dewey’s resignation led to Philip Glanville quitting as mayor.

Glanville was pictured at a Eurovision party with Dewey in May 2022 – just hours after he had been informed by the council of Dewey’s arrest.

Discrepancies in his accounts of what had happened saw Glanville suspended by Labour, and he eventually gave up the mayoralty.

An independent review commissioned by Hackney Council into the Dewey saga found that little could have been done to stop him becoming a councillor.