Midlands Prison Portlaoise
An elderly inmate at the Midlands Prison Portlaoise who is wanted by the FBI in New York on suspicion of producing and selling child pornography must wait to hear the outcome of a challenge to his extradition to the United States.
Daniel Mullan, aged 79, is a dual US Irish citizen. He is wanted by the FBI to face trial on charges related to the sexual exploitation and transportation of a minor as well as two counts of possessing child pornography.
Mr Mullan, who is fighting his proposed extradition to the United States from custody in the Midlands Prison, Portlaoise, was indicted by a Grand Jury in New York in September 2017, while serving a sentence for sexual offences in Ireland.
The High Court ordered his extradition to the United States in December, which he is appealing.
His barrister, Kieran Kelly BL, told the Court of Appeal on Tuesday, February 26 that his client wished to be considered for the prosecution of the alleged offences in Ireland, even though the offences were allegedly committed abroad.
He said section 2 of the Sexual Offences (Jurisdiction) Act 1996 provides for the prosecution of Irish citizens in Ireland, who commit sexual offences abroad.
President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice George Birmingham commented that there was an air of “unreality” about requiring the DPP to consider prosecuting Mr Mullan in Ireland. He said the act in question was designed to deal with people engaged in sexual tourism, not the vast number of people in the USA who can avail of Irish citizenship.
Mr Kelly agreed that there was no “nexus” between the alleged offences and Ireland.
He further submitted that his client suffered from a “multiplicity” of serious illnesses including sight loss, inability to walk, morbid obesity, atrial fibrillation, chronic infection and autoimmune compromise, peripheral neuropathy, macular degeneration, chronic cardiac failure, anxiety and cellulitis.
Mr Mullan was pushed in and out of court in a wheelchair and sat through the hearing with a blanket over his knees, wearing sandals, close to the judges as he is hard of hearing.
Mr Kelly submitted that the High Court judge seemed to focus on his client’s eyesight issues and inability to walk. But the “entire ambit of his ailments” weren’t addressed.
He said Mr Mullan’s personal rights under Articles 8 of the Convention on Human Rights, which provides respect for a person’s “private and family life”, required consideration by the High Court.
Counsel for the Attorney General, Remy Farrell SC, said Mr Mullan’s medical conditions were not a bar to extradition.
He said detailed evidence had been provided by US prison services on the facilities that would be made available to Mr Mullan, if he was extradited to America.
Mr Farrell said it would be an “extraordinary state of affairs” for Mr Mullan’s surrender to be blocked under Article 8 of the Convention of Human Rights. He said Mr Mullan had spent most of his time in Ireland in prison and there was “nothing of any sort” here that could ground such an entitlement to family rights.
Furthermore, Mr Farrell said the appeal had not been brought on a point of law. He said nobody was entitled to quarrel with the correctness of a High Court judgment and “dress up” those arguments as points of law
President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice George Birmingham, who sat with Ms Justice Máire Whelan and Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy, said the court would reserve its judgment.
The FBI allege that for “at least 30 years”, Mr Mullan participated in the production and possession and sale of child pornography, which involved himself engaging in sexually explicit conduct with minor children under the age of 18.
It is alleged that he would film, record and or photograph himself and others engaged in sexually explicit conduct with minors as well as minors performing sexually explicit conduct on themselves.
It is alleged that he created the material in the US and abroad, that he “maintained a collection” of the child pornography that he created and that he sold copies of the child pornography that he produced.
If convicted in America he faces the rest of his life in prison.