Art student was 'used as pawn' to sell sex videos

Andrew Phelan

AN art student was a "pawn" in the illegal trade of "obscene and revolting" DVDs at a city sex shop, a judge has said.

Ciara McFerran (21) was "allowed to take the rap" for the sale of uncertified pornographic films at the adult store where she worked in a junior role, Judge Catherine Murphy said.

The judge told McFerran, who has now quit her job at the city centre store, that she would consider leaving her without convictions if she made a €5,000 charity donation.

She reduced the figure from €20,000 after hearing that the owners of Miss Fantasia on South William Street would only be "contributing" to the donation and McFerran's family would be bearing most of the burden.

Dublin District Court heard no court proceedings had been brought against the partners in the company Jacinta Feeley and Justin Parr.

Ms Feeley, who had accompanied McFerran, addressed the court only to confirm her name when requested by the judge.

McFerran, of Castle Lawns, Seabury, Malahide was found guilty of 30 offences relating to the possession and supply of uncertified DVDs at the store in September 2008.

She was charged over a sample of 10 DVD titles that were among 1,700 seized in a garda raid on the store. They had not been certified for supply by the Irish Film Classification Office.


McFerran had denied all the offences, which were under the Video Recordings Act.

Judge Murphy said she would consider either applying the Probation Act or striking the charges out if the money was paid within a month.

The judge said the owners were "clearly the people behind this matter" and that the accused had been carrying out her duties as an employee.

However, she said the defendant had been "foolish" and "naive" in agreeing to carry out illegal activity.

"She was allowed to take the rap for what was going on in this business" the judge said, telling McFerran to "use her intelligence properly" in future.

"If you are weak and you don't stand up for what you believe to be right, then the road ahead of you will be very bleak and very dark," the judge told the accused.

She said McFerran could have been liable to €30,000 in fines and two years in jail.

The judge ordered the forfeiture to the State and destruction of the DVDs, which she said were "obscene and revolting".

"You were a pawn in this matter, you weren't the person who decided to buy them and that they would be sold. The difficulty is, technically, you are fully responsible for what happened, that is the dilemma.

The case was adjourned to a date in December for payment of the charity donation.