Friday 6 December 2019

Man who facilitated production of child pornography involving his own daughter awaits appeal verdict

The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin
The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin

Ruaidhrí Giblin

A man who facilitated the production of child pornography involving his own daughter which her mother filmed, must wait to hear whether his appeal against sentence has been successful.

The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to sexual exploitation and to knowingly causing or facilitating the production of child pornography in Dublin between 2009 and 2010.

He was sentenced to five years imprisonment with the final 12 months suspended by Judge Sarah Berkeley on July 31, 2014. Separately, the girl's mother was sentenced to 36 months with the final 20 suspended on a plea of guilty.

Giving judgment on an unsuccessful conviction appeal, Mr Justice John Edwards said a member of the public had found a mobile phone crushed on the road in June 2010 and amongst its remnants was an SD card which appeared to be undamaged.

The member of the public had intended to make use of the SD card himself, Mr Justice Edwards said. However, when he inserted the SD card into his own mobile phone he found disturbing images stored of an ostensibly sexual nature involving an adult and a very young child.

The member of the public recognised the child, who was living in his locality, and immediately went to a nearby garda station, Mr Justice Edwards said. The gardaí commenced an immediate criminal investigation and confirmed that the child was the man's four-year-old daughter.

An interim care order was successfully sought by the HSE the following day. The man and his ex-partner were both in attendance for the interim care order hearing, Mr Justice Edwards said.

Moving to appeal his sentence today, Counsel for the man, Patrick Gageby SC, told the Court of Appeal that his client's ex-partner was the instigator of the offence “for reasons which pass human understanding”.

However, his client got a sentence “three times that” of his ex-partner, who had not fought the case, Mr Gageby submitted.

Counsel further submitted that the judge erred in holding that his client had no remorse.

Mr Gageby said the man continued to have supervised contact with his child and was “part of her life".

Reserving judgment, Mr Justice George Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan and Mr Justice John Edwards, said the court would take some time with its decision.

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