Friday 19 January 2018

Case of man caught with huge child pornography collection adjourned pending psychiatric report

Declan Brennan and Sonya McLean

A MAN who had one of the largest collections of child pornography ever found by gardai has had his case adjourned a second time to allow for further psychiatric evaluation.

The 135,555 images and videos found on James Clarke’s computer included images showing severe child sex abuse involving bondage, cruelty and bestiality.

The child porn was organised into computer folders by themes and individuals and Clarke was using an Internet site to offer the images to others.

Clarke (58) of Devlis Cottage, Ballyhaunis, Mayo pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to four counts of knowingly distributing child pornography at Russell View Square, Tallaght, Dublin on separate dates in August 2010.

He also pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography on August 20, 2010.

Defence counsel Kitty Perle BL told Judge Patricia Ryan today that a report, which had been ordered following the sentence hearing last July, stated that Clarke would benefit from further “psychiatric intervention and treatment”.

She asked the court to follow the recommendation in the report for a further adjournment.

Judge Ryan ordered a second report and adjourned the case to next January for sentence. She remanded Clarke in continuing custody until that date.

Detective Garda Cathal Delaney told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting at the sentence hearing in July, that the files found on Clarke’s computer drives was the “the largest collection of child porn” he had ever found up to that date.

He said the materials included sexual activity involving children with children, children with adults and children with animals.

He said some of these victims were infants.

He said that Clarke was using Gigatribe, a legitimate social networking site which he compared to Facebook, to distribute these images.

The court heard that Clarke would restrict access to his files to other users who were sharing files.

Det Gda Delaney said that warnings about sharing files and an invitation to others to “enjoy the files you use” was repeated in a number of languages.

He said that Clarke was also using an email account to speak to a woman about keeping her and her 14-year-old daughter as sex slaves.

In total Clarke’s computer drives held 133,563 images and 1,992 videos showing child porn.

Garda Christopher O’Leary told Ms McGowan that Clarke has a previous conviction for sex with a minor in 1977.

Ms Perle said Clarke claimed he was only aged around 20 at the time and the girl was 14.

Counsel said her client had previously suffered from depression and had attempted suicide a number of times.

She said that since then Clarke had overcome his depression and set up a security firm. She said a car accident in 2003 caused him another set back and he began spending “many many hours” on the computer at home on his own.

She said he began browsing adult porn and that curiosity led him to child porn and that this quickly became out of control.

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