- Dr Peter Smith was convicted of downloading child pornography and placed on sex offenders’ register
- Only spared jail after being diagnosed with cancer
- Dr Smith may still give ‘guest lectures’ and continue working for the university’s faculty of philosophy
Senior Cambridge Don: Dr Peter Smith was convicted of downloading child porn from an illegal website
A Cambridge University don convicted of downloading child pornography could be allowed to carry on lecturing.
Dr Peter Smith was arrested after an international police investigation into an illegal website based in Luxembourg showed he had been a customer.
More than 4,000 images were found on his computer, ranging from level one to five – the most serious.
He was spared jail last month only after a judge ruled that, as he had been diagnosed with cancer in 2005, a custodial sentence would not be appropriate.
Smith was banned from using any computer with internet access, sentenced to 180 hours of community service and ordered to attend a rehabilitation course.
He was also placed on the sex offenders’ register for five years.
A senior source at Cambridge University confirmed that although Smith would not be allowed to carry out tutorials with students, he would continue to give ‘guest lectures’ and work for the faculty of philosophy.
The university’s website still lists Smith, 67, on the faculty’s staff. It is not the first time the professor has been punished for his sexual misdemeanours.
The university suspended him for three-and-a-half months in 2003 after it was revealed that he entertained prostitutes in his book-lined study at Jesus College, whose alumni include Prince Edward and novelist Nick Hornby.
Dr Smith, 67, may still be allowed to give guest lectures at Cambridge University, pictured above
Cambridge University previously suspended Dr Smith for three-and-a-half months in 2003 after it was revealed that he entertained prostitutes in his book-lined study at Jesus College
The £120-an-hour prostitutes were
provided by the internet agency Stansted Escorts, which waived Smith’s
fee after he provided lurid reviews of their sessions for a website.
After details of the scandal were revealed, Smith resigned his £30,000-a-year post as a fellow, a position achieved only by those who produce first-rate academic work and have reputations of the utmost moral rectitude.
He returned in December 2003 to lecture students until ‘retiring’ in September last year, although he is listed after that as a lecturer on the October rota for a metaphysics group in the philosophy faculty.
Cambridge University Students’ Union women’s officer Ruth Graham said: ‘It seems reasonable to ask that the university make a formal inquiry into Peter Smith’s activities during his time as an employee of the philosophy faculty, given the appalling nature of his offence.
‘The decision to allow him to return to teaching after sleeping with prostitutes in his college study seems incredible, and certainly requires some explanation.’
A Cambridge University spokesman said there were no immediate plans for Smith to give lectures, despite his appearance on official lists and rotas.
The spokesman failed to explain why Smith had continued to teach after resigning last September.
A statement said: ‘Dr Smith’s resignation from his fellowship was accepted by the then master in July 2003. Dr Smith retired from his position at the faculty of philosophy in September 2011.’