Monday 21 October 2019

Man accused of being the world's biggest facilitator of child porn loses Supreme Court appeal

Eric Eoin Marques
Eric Eoin Marques

Aodhan O'Faolain

The Supreme Court has cleared the way for the extradition to the United States of Eric Eoin Marques, a man accused of being the world's biggest facilitator of child porn.

The decision brings to an end a lengthy battle by Mr Marques before the Irish courts aimed at preventing his extradition.

This morning the five-judge Supreme Court unanimously dismissed Marques appeal against a decision of the High Court that he be surrendered to the US authorities.

That decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal.

Now aged in his early 30s Mr Marques is wanted by US authorities to face charges relating to conspiring to distribute and advertise child pornography, and advertising and distributing child pornography.

He is alleged to be owner and administrator of an anonymous hosting site known as Freedom Hosting.

Mr Marques, with an address at Mountjoy Square, Dublin, has been in custody since his arrest in August 2013 after being refused bail over concerns including he represented a flight risk and may interfere with evidence.

Last year the Supreme Court agreed to hear Marques' appeal on the basis that it raised points of law that were of public significance.  

The appeal, aimed at halting his surrender, centred around the DPP's decision not to prosecute him in Ireland for the same offences the US authorities want to prosecute him for.

His lawyers asked the Supreme Court whether the Minister for Justice was under an obligation to seek reasons from the Director of Public Prosecutions as to why Mr  Marques was not being prosecuted in Ireland for the offences he is accused of.

The court was also asked if the reasons given by the Minister in making the decision to extradite Mr Marques were adequate. 

The State, represented by Ronan Kennedy Bl, had argued that the appeal be dismissed.

Giving the court's decision Mr Justice Peter Charleton said the Minister for Justice "was not under an obligation to seek reasons from the DPP as to why a suspect is not being prosecuted in Ireland."

The Minister, who under the 1965 Extradition Act can refuse to order a suspect's extradition, has a separate function from the DPP, he added.

In addition, Mr Justice Charleton said that the reasons given by the Minister in the circumstances of this case not to seek reasons from the DPP were adequate, the Judge added. 

Mr Justice William McKechnie, Mr Justice John McMenamin, Ms Justice Iseult O'Malley and Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan all concurred with Mr Justice Charleton's decision.

The court then lifted the stay on the extradition order made by the lower courts clearing the way for Marques' surrender to the US authorities.

Mr Marques was not present in court for the judgement.

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News