independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Dublin man jailed for child porn possession appeals sentence

The Court of Criminal Appeal has reserved judgement in the case of a South Dublin man appealing against his three-year sentence for the possession of thousands of images of child pornography.

In May 2012 Bryan O’Byrne (33), with last addresses in Sandymount and Stepaside, was jailed for three years by Judge Patricia Ryan for the possession of child pornography.

He had pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the possession of child pornography images at his home on December 9, 2008.

The court heard evidence that, after receiving information from the Paedophile Investigation Unit, O’Byrne’s home was searched by gardai and a number of items including a computer, four hard drives, modem and memory stick were seized.

Counsel for Byrne, Mr Philipp Rahn BL, told the court that the sentencing court fell in to error by failing to give sufficient credit to the mitigating factors in the case.

He said O’Byrne should have got maximum credit for his plea of guilty, his early admissions and his lack of relevant previous conditions, which would have brought his sentence below three years.

Counsel argued that because of this, Judge Ryan could not have given sufficient credit for the other mitigating factors in the case, which included the fact the images were not shared and the fact O’Byrne did not buy the material.

Mr Rahn said that O’Bryne also had serious medical difficulties, a tragic family background and upbringing and was subject to a serious assault in his twenties. He had brain surgery in 2003 but still requires on-going treatment and medication.

Counsel submitted there were also a number of “process errors”, including a failure by Judge Ryan to locate where the offence lay within the range of sentencing, and then mitigate back from this.

He said the trial judge also appeared to have sentenced on the basis of 15,000 images and files, rather than the evidence before the court of 3,200 files.

Ms Elva Duffy BL, for the State, submitted that the offences were at “the very higher end of the scale” and O’Byrne had searched for terms like “Child” “Pedo” “Rape” and “Kidnap”.

Mr Justice Donal O’Donnell, presiding at the Court of Criminal Appeal, said the court would reserve its judgement but would deliver it before the end of term.

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