Wednesday 22 October 2014

Man who sought help to transfer child porn avoids jail

Sonya McLean

Published 03/12/2012 | 17:19

A FATHER of one who went to a shop looking for help to transfer child pornography from one phone to another has avoided a jail term.

David Sharpe (53) asked the shop assistant in the O2 store for help and handed him one Nokia phone which had an image of a child naked from the waist down as the background wallpaper.



Garda Vincent Heaney told Roisin Lacey BL, prosecuting when the staff member went to help him transfer images from this phone to another Nokia phone, he noticed similar images and became suspicious.



He told Sharpe that he needed to keep the phone to send it off to be repaired and the gardai were contacted. Sharpe was allowed leave with the second phone but this was later seized as part of the investigation.



Gda Heaney said the images on both phones were later analysed and found to be child pornography.



A total of 44 images were recovered, 18 of which depicted children aged between eight and 14 years old engaged in penetrative sex, nine which showed children engaged in non-penetrative sexual activity and 17 which showed children in sexual poses.



Sharpe later admitted in garda interview that the images were his but claimed he downloaded them from a naturist and young models website.



He told gardai he had been “curious about looking at” child pornography for about two or three years but said he had stopped six months prior to his arrest.



Sharpe of Bremore Court, Balbriggan, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of child pornography at the 02 Store, Scotch Hall, Drogheda on June 13, 2009. He has no previous convictions.



Judge Martin Nolan said he was satisfied a prison term was not justified before he sentenced Sharpe to three years which he suspended in full on strict conditions including that he remain under probation supervision for 18 months.



He accepted that Sharpe had not distributed, purchased nor shared the images and had therefore not supported the child pornographic industry.



Judge Nolan accepted that Sharpe was somewhat naive, which he said was obvious from the way the offence came to light, but added that he had “enough insight” to know what he was doing was wrong.



Gda Heaney said that Sharpe initially told gardai in a voluntary statement that although he did download pornography, most of it was of adults. He claimed he downloaded images from a naturist website and said the images of children must have come from there.



He denied ever downloading child pornography or entering any child pornography website.



Sharpe was arrested after the images were analysed. In interview he made more admissions but again denied ever having paid for the images.



Gda Heaney agreed with Cathal McGreal BL, defending, that Sharpe was socially awkward and not “the brightest”.



He further accepted there was no evidence of him having used a credit card to buy images, subscribing to a website or having contact with people who would be responsible for distributing the images.



Mr McGreal said his client was the sole carer of his 20 year old son who has both intellectual and physical disabilities.



He said Sharpe has tried since to commit suicide by overdosing on medication and has sought psychiatric treatment.

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