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Man on child porn charges allegedly contacted girls as young as nine, court told

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Matthew Horan

Matthew Horan

Matthew Horan

A Dublin man has been accused of sexually exploiting young girls after contacting them on social media, as well as multiple counts of producing and distributing child pornography.

Mathew Horan (25) is facing trial over his alleged contact with three girls aged between nine and 12, as well as having thousands of movies and images of child sexual abuse, including animation clips.

He was granted bail despite the objections of gardai, who said they believed he would commit child pornography offences while on bail.

Mr Horan, of St Johns Crescent, Clondalkin, is charged with a series of offences that are alleged to have happened at his home on dates in 2014 and 2015.

Computer

Garda David Connolly told Blanchardstown District Court the accused replied "no" when the 44 charges were put to him yesterday.

Some 38 charges that were previously brought were withdrawn by the prosecution.

The new charges consisted of 27 counts of distribution of child pornography, eight counts of sexual exploitation of a child, six of possession of child pornography, one of producing it and one of encouraging the production of it.

The offences carry prison sentences of up to 14 years on conviction on indictment.

Gda Connolly said the accused's home was searched and a computer, external hard drive and mobile phones were seized.

Mr Horan accepted ownership of them, the garda said.

Gardai allegedly found thousands of child pornography images and movies as well as computer-generated animation and images of children.

Three girls aged between nine and 12 were interviewed by child victim interviewers. It was alleged they had contact with a man known by gardai to be the accused.

One girl was allegedly contacted in July 2015 and the other two in November 2014.

When his home was searched, Mr Horan admitted he had accessed child pornography on the internet, Gda Connolly said.

He said he believed the defendant would commit child pornography offences if granted bail and said that, on January 31, after bail had been granted on the previous charges, gardai conducted another search, in which a mobile phone and two USB sticks were seized.

Child pornography was allegedly found on these devices and Gda Connolly said he believed further charges would be brought as a result.

The officer said all the accused's equipment had been seized earlier and these devices were new.

Applying for bail, defence solicitor Brian Coveney said the accused had no previous convictions and enjoyed a presumption of innocence. He was living at home with his parents.

A state solicitor said there were "to some degree unknown parties involved" in the case but there were "three actual children" involved that the accused was alleged to have "actually contacted".

Vulnerable

These children were of a "very young age and very vulnerable", she added.

"We are talking about actual children here and not possible children out there that we can't put a face to," the solicitor said.

Judge McHugh said he could understood the prosecution's concerns but he had to balance that with the rights of the defendant, who he did not believe was a flight risk.

He granted bail under conditions in the "clearest possible terms" for the accused.

Mr Horan must sign on daily at Clondalkin Garda Station and is ordered not to engage in any social media platform, not to make contact with any juveniles and to have no contact with any witnesses.

He is prohibited from having any device that gives him access to the internet.

Online Editors