Wednesday 18 September 2019

Garda claims child porn was 'downloaded by somebody else'

Officer said he had sex with man who had 'corrupted' his laptop

Garda Joseph O’Connor. Picture: Collins
Garda Joseph O’Connor. Picture: Collins

Declan Brennan

A Garda accused of possessing child pornography told investigators "somebody else" must have downloaded child sex images onto his laptop, a trial has heard.

Joseph O'Connor (58) of west Dublin has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to five counts of possession of child pornography at his home in west Dublin on dates between July 30 and August 2 in 2011.

Detective Superintendent Colm O'Malley told the jury that on June 21, 2012 he arrested the defendant and later interviewed him about images found on a Dell laptop seized from his home during a search in August 2011.

Videos on the laptop showed boys under the age of 10 subjected to sexually explicit acts.

As Garda interviewers took the accused through the child sexual images and videos, he repeatedly denied knowledge of them.

He told investigators: "I've never downloaded any of those images." He repeatedly said he'd never seen any of the images, which included children having sex with children, and described them as sick.

"I have never downloaded or viewed child pornography. Somebody else must have downloaded them," he told detectives. He said his laptop had no password and could be used by anyone coming into his house.

The defendant said he would bring men, who he met on "hook up" websites like Manhunt, back to his home and they would often use the laptop.

He said in the days before the laptop was seized by gardaí a man named Patryk Farrell met him at his home for sex.

He said the next day his laptop "started going ballistic" and he was convinced Mr Farrell had corrupted the computer.

The hard drive seemed to be spinning and "if you typed anything, what you typed wasn't appearing on the screen", he told Supt O'Malley.

He told gardaí he spent most of the day ringing technical support in Pakistan and invited gardaí to check his telephone records.

Paul Carroll SC, defending, previously told the jury his client was not challenging that the files found on the laptop amounted to child pornography but "the real issue is how they got there".

The trial continues before Judge Elma Sheahan and a jury of 10 men and two women.

Irish Independent

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