01 Jul 2022

Court refuses to allow serial child abuser to be named

Request from parents turned down

A request from the parents of two victims to have a serial child abuser who was caught with a 127-page ‘paedophile manual’ named was turned down by the Court of Appeal as the man had his jail time increased. 

Mr Justice John Edwards, presiding, was notified of the families’ wishes as the court quashed a five-year term imposed on the 45-year-old male on the grounds it was unduly lenient. 

The man had been sentenced at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court for two counts of sexually assaulting a boy, sexual exploitation of a boy, and producing child pornography. He also admitted possessing child pornography for distribution and to possessing child pornography images, videos, texts and documents that were described as depicting “unimaginable depravity”. 

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) later appealed the sentence imposed by Judge Melanie Greally in April 2019, arguing that insufficient weight had been given to the aggravating factors and a longer sentence was required. 

In a judgment delivered on Monday, November 29 Mr Justice Edwards, sitting with Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and Ms Justice Una Ní Raifeartaigh, said the court was overturning the original sentence and that the man must now serve six years in jail. 

The court was then informed by Cathleen Noctor SC, for the DPP, that one parent of the victim known as Boy X and one parent of the victim known as Boy Y had said they wanted the man named. 

The sentencing court previously said that the man could not be named because his identification could also identify the victims. 

Although no application to lift the ban was being made today, Ms Noctor said both victims were now adults and that she had been instructed to convey the wishes of the two parents to the three-judge appellate court. 

After rising to consider the request, Mr Justice Edwards said revealing the man’s identity would not be appropriate in this case and that the ban on naming him was to remain.  

Earlier, the judge explained why it had decided to increase the man’s jail time.  

Noting that the man had been jailed on four counts, Mr Justice Edwards said the impact of the offending on the victims had to reflected in the “overall result” of the custodial term. 

The judge said the court regarded the contents of the document which described methods to groom children and which the responded had shared via email as “very sinister”. 

Although they were two “specific victims” in this case, Mr Justice Edwards said there were countless other unidentified victims who had featured in the pornographic material the man had stored on his electronic devices.   

The headline sentences imposed on the four counts had therefore been “simply too low” and “significantly outside of the norm” for the offending, and this, the judge continued, had resulted in an overall custodial term which had been unduly lenient. 

Earlier evidence: 

The man had pleaded guilty to two counts of sexually assaulting a boy, sexual exploitation of a boy and producing child pornography between 2011 and 2013. 

He also admitted possessing child pornography for distribution within in the State on July 11, 2006 and to possessing child porn images, videos, texts and documents on computer media on December 9, 2013. 

At the sentencing hearing, Judge Greally said gardaí found over 55,000 images, more than 6,000 videos and almost 4,500 text files containing child pornography on the man’s computer, external hard drive and mobile phone at his Dublin home. 

The court heard that some 13,000 of the images depicted children, mostly pre-teenagers, engaged in sexual activity with adults. 

Judge Greally said that 19 videos showed “child abuse at its most extreme,” because of the “unimaginable depravity” of the sexual acts being perpetrated on the children and the extremely young age of some of the victims. 

Some of the children being abused in the videos and images were babies as young as five months old. 

“In many cases, the child who’s being abused can be heard crying,” said Judge Greally. 

Judge Greally said the respondent knew the mother of one of the victims through work and had “ingratiated himself” with the boy’s family. 

She said he was a regular visitor to the woman’s home and “lavished attention and gifts” on her 10-year-old son before sexually assaulting him at the child’s grandmother’s birthday in a Dublin hotel. 

The court heard the man then continued to sexually assault the child over two years whenever he was left alone with the boy. 

The boy’s mother became increasingly uneasy and eventually told him not to contact them again.  

She said her son no longer remembers being sexually abused but that she is afraid he will recall it later in life. The woman is also disturbed about the naked photos that were taken of her son and as to what use they might be put. 

The man has one previous conviction from 2006 for sexual assaulting a child, for which he received a suspended sentence. 

Detective Garda James Neary previously told Diana Stuart BL, prosecuting, that investigators at the man’s home found a 127-page “manual” on how to approach and sexually exploit children. 

Det Neary, formerly of An Garda Síochána's Paedophile Investigation Unit, said although this guide contained no indecent images, it had a “breakdown” of the steps used to meet and engage in sexual activity with children. 

Det Neary agreed with Morgan Shelley BL, defending, that the man had been in custody from 2015 in the Philippines until his extradition back to Ireland. 

Mr Shelley said his client had been detained in the Philippines after leaving Ireland following his arrest for these charges. 

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