Monday 11 December 2017

Man wanted by FBI over child porn is refused bail

Brian Kavanagh

AN Irishman described by an FBI Special Agent as "the largest facilitator of child porn in the world" has been refused bail for a second time, and is likely to remain in custody until 2014, when the case is likely to be heard.

Eric Eoin Marques is wanted in the US on charges relating to conspiring to distribute and advertise child pornography, and advertising and distributing child pornography.

In the High Court, Dublin, Mr Justice John Edwards said concerns that Mr Marques may abscond or interfere with evidence were such that he could not grant him bail, even on a regime of strict conditions.

The 28-year-old gave no reaction to the judgment but looked at his family as he was led away from court, having been told it was unlikely his extradition hearing would be heard before 2014.

The charges against Mr Marques relate to images on over 100 "anonymous websites" described as being extremely violent, graphic and depicting the rape and torture of pre-pubescent children.

The websites in question have "thousands of members" who have posted "millions of images" of child pornography. Some the children involved are infants, the FBI have claimed.

Earlier this week, the extradition court heard from FBI Special Agent Brooke Donahue, who described Mr Marques as "the largest facilitator of child porn in the world".

Mr Donahue said it was alleged that an examination of Mr Marques' home computer by gardai showed that as well as hosting and facilitating the child pornography websites, Mr Marques was also visiting the sites, had direct knowledge of what he was hosting and had administrator access to one site.

He told counsel for the Attorney General Patrick McGrath that it was also alleged that Mr Marques was attempting to gain access to foreign website hosting companies using a fraudulent image of an American passport.

The court heard that Mr Marques had "substantial financial resources", with €1.2m passing through one bank account.

EVIDENCE

Last month, Mr Justice Paul Gilligan refused to grant bail to Mr Marques, with an address at Mountjoy Square in central Dublin, until the extradition request has been determined.

Gardai and the FBI both objected to bail on the grounds that Mr Marques represented a flight risk and there was a fear of destruction of evidence.

Mr Justice Edwards said that having taken "considerable time" to review the evidence in the case, he was not disposed to grant bail, adding it was a matter of "deep concern" that Mr Marques had access to a false passport.

Mr Marques was remanded in custody to appear before the High Court on October 22 for mention.

Irish Independent

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