David Cameron’s former aide Patrick Rock was given a two-year conditional discharge for downloading and possessing indecent images of children.
Rock, who was one of the government’s chief advisers on online pornography filters, walked free from Southwark court after being convicted of downloading pictures of girls as young as 10 in sexual poses.
Despite his previous governmental role the judge said the “humiliation” was sufficient punishment.
The 65-year-old had claimed the 20 images he downloaded on to his iPad over three days in August 2013 were not indecent.
But the jury in his trial convicted Rock by a majority verdict of five counts.
The court heard that the youngest of the girls in the pictures was aged just 10 years and four months when he downloaded the image – meaning she would have been younger when it was taken.
Rock was acquitted of three similar charges, while jurors were unable to agree on the 12 remaining counts and were discharged, meaning the charges will lie on file.
Delivering his sentence, Judge Alistair McCreath said: “I have not lost sight of the obvious reality that right-thinking people will quite properly consider that those who did what you did should be punished for it.”
“You should be. And you have been”, he added.
“The punishment for you is the loss of your reputation and your very public humiliation.
It is a punishment which you brought on yourself, but is nonetheless a very real one. And it is one that is utterly merited.”
Rock must register as a sex offender for the duration of the two year conditional discharge.
He has also been banned from using a device with the internet unless it can retain his browsing history and he surrenders it for inspection by police on request over the same period.