Sunday 4 December 2016

Man (22) posted girls' Facebook photos on porn site, court is told

Gordon Deegan

Published 19/05/2016 | 02:30

The man is alleged to have uploaded 30 photos of local teenage girls to a pornographic site between October 2013 and the end of June 2014 Stock photo: PA
The man is alleged to have uploaded 30 photos of local teenage girls to a pornographic site between October 2013 and the end of June 2014 Stock photo: PA

A man has appeared in court charged in connection with uploading 19 girls' Facebook profile pictures to a pornographic site.

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Evan Meehan (22), of Dernish Lawn, Shannon, Co Clare, appeared before Ennis District Court yesterday in connection with uploading 30 photos of local teenage girls to a pornographic site between October 2013 and the end of June 2014.

The 30 charges relate to 19 girls, 17 of whom had Shannon addresses, with two other girls living in the nearby villages of Sixmilebridge and Newmarket-on-Fergus.

All of the girls were Facebook friends of Mr Meehan while most went to the same secondary school as him in Shannon.

The alleged offences took place during a period when Mr Meehan was aged 19 and 20.

Giving an outline of the State's case for Judge Patrick Durcan to decide if he will hear the case in the District Court or transfer the case to the Circuit Court, where tougher penalties apply on conviction, Det Garda Paul Coleman said in evidence that on June 30, 2014, a number of girls presented themselves to Shannon Garda Station.

Det Coleman said that the girls arrived at the station after discovering that Facebook profile pictures which they uploaded to their personal Facebook pages had been uploaded to a pornographic site without their knowledge or consent.

Det Coleman said that sexually explicit captions describing activities of a sexual nature were added to the girls' photographs.

Det Coleman handed an image of one of the uploaded photos to Judge Durcan.

The detective said: "The alleged injured parties were happy to upload the pictures themselves to Facebook. They were in no way lewd or anyway suggestive in the poses contained.

"It is the captions that were added that caused offence at the time and that has lessened in time."

After hearing an outline of the case, Judge Durcan said he would retain jurisdiction in the case and the case will be heard in the District Court.

As a result, Mr Meehan, if convicted of any of the offences, faces a much lower penalty regime. If the case had gone to the Circuit Court, Mr Meehan would have been facing the penalty of a prison term of up to five years on conviction.

However, as the case will now be heard in the District Court, the penalties available to Judge Durcan on conviction include a prison term of up to 12 months or a fine not exceeding €600.

In the case, Mr Meehan is charged 30 times of knowingly making a false report tending to show that an offence had been committed contrary to Section 12 (a) of the Criminal Law Act 1976.

He made no reply to each of the charges after caution.

The case was adjourned to July 13.

Irish Independent

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