Monday 11 December 2017

Man described as ‘largest facilitator of child porn on planet’ learns fate tomorrow

Eric Eoin Marques (28) suspected by FBI

Eric Eoin Marques
Eric Eoin Marques

Tom Tuite

A HIGH court judge will rule tomorrow on whether a 28-year-old Irish man described by an FBI Special Agent as “the largest facilitator of child porn on the planet” is entitled to apply for bail again.

Eric Eoin Marques (28), who is wanted in the United States, had been refused bail by the High Court in Dublin last month, on foot of an extradition request by the FBI.

US authorities want to extradite Marques, who has dual Irish-US citizenship, to face trial on charges for distributing, conspiring to distribute, and advertising child pornography.

It was also alleged he aided and abetted a conspiracy to advertise child porn and the court had heard that if convicted he faces sentences of up to 30 years in jail. The US authorities' case relate to images on a large number of websites showing the rape and torture of young children.

Today, Remy Farrell SC, for Marques, argued that despite the High Court's decision last month, the 28-year-old is now entitled to make another bail application.

Marques, who had been arrested on August 1 last, had been refused bail the following day on the grounds that he presented as a possible flight risk and it was feared he would destroy evidence. An FBI Special Agent had described him in the High Court as “the largest facilitator of child porn on the planet.”

However, today Mr Farrell said that since then the proceedings have moved on to a new stage and Marques should be allowed to apply for bail again. Counsel argued that when bail was refused, Marques was being held on a provisional warrant.

He submitted that now Marques, who has an address at Mountjoy Square, Dublin 1, is to face a full extradition hearing which marked a new procedural stage, and this meant that he was entitled to apply for bail again.

In reply, Patrick McGrath SC, for the Attorney General opposed the application which he described as a “waste of the court's time” and added that it “if not an abuse of process, flies in the face of normal procedures.”

Dressed in a grey hooded top, blue jeans and black runners, Mr Marques did did not address the court.

Mr Justice John Edwards said that there has been no change in Mr Marques's circumstances but following submissions from Mr Farrell and Mr McGrath he said he would give his ruling this morning on whether a new bail application can be made.

Last month, when he was initially refused bail, the High Court had heard claims that Mr Marques, had travelled extensively, represented a flight risk and may interfere with evidence. Investigating gardai and the FBI both objected to bail and the court had heard evidence that large sums of money had passed through his bank accounts, including payments to accounts in Romania.

The court had heard that a search of Mr Marques’s computer showed he been looking for information on how to get a Russian visa.

Mr Marques, who has no previous conviction, had told the High Court that he was born in America but has lived in Ireland since he was aged five and his father is Brazilian while his mother is Irish. He had claimed that he had visited Romania to see friends there as well as an ex-girlfriend.

He had explained that he had gone online to find out about a Russian visa because he was curious about former US NSA employee Edward Snowden.

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