Sunday 22 September 2019

Garda on trial for possession of child pornography had complaint of sexual nature made against him, court hears

Joseph O'Connor (58), from west Dublin, pictured at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court where he has pleaded not guilty to five counts of possession of child pornography at his home in 2011. Photo: Collins Courts.
Joseph O'Connor (58), from west Dublin, pictured at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court where he has pleaded not guilty to five counts of possession of child pornography at his home in 2011. Photo: Collins Courts.

Declan Brennan

A garda on trial for possession of child pornography had a complaint of a sexual nature made against him by a man he met for sex days before his arrest.

Joseph O'Connor (58) from 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.

The jury has heard that videos found on a laptop seized from his home on August 2 showed boys under the age of ten subjected to sexually explicit acts.

Twelve movies retrieved showed boys between the age of ten and 17, Gda Walsh said, with two files depicting children being subjected to explicit sexual acts with a male adult.

Garda Sergeant Kevin Menchen told the jury that the day before the search of his home, the defendant rang Inspector Colm Fox, now deceased, to say he had heard there were allegations being made about him.

The defendant presented himself at Blanchardstown Garda Station to make a voluntary witness statement which was taken by Sgt Menchen.

The court heard that the defendant said he had used the gay website Manhunt to initiate contact with a man called Patryk (sic) Farrell and they had exchanged a substantial number of texts.

Some of these texts detailed “what they are going to do to each other, in terms of sexual activity, in terms of whatever fetish was going on”, the court heard.

Mr Farrell went to the defendant's home and spent the night there. Mr O'Connor told Sgt Menchen that the following morning he heard the front door slamming.

He said he got up immediately and went downstairs and saw his laptop was closed over. He went to his jeans and found €20 was missing, Mr O'Connor told gardaí. He said he also found his official Garda ID was missing. He said he got into his car and drove around to find Mr Farrell.

The jury heard that Mr O'Connor told gardaí he found Mr Farrell and searched him and found his official badge and handcuffs and €20 on him.

Defence counsel Paul Carroll SC, told the jury that Mr Farrell ended up coming back into the city centre and was the worse for wear and collapsed. This was brought to garda attention and complaints were made against the defendant.

Counsel said there were complaints of a sexual nature and matters progressed. He said the Garda Ombudsman took up the complaint but Mr Farrell didn’t cooperate and the complaint was withdrawn.

The trial began last week but has been in legal argument for much of that time. It continues before Judge Sheahan and a jury of ten men and two women.

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