15 Aug 2022

Used 'dark web' to view and share child pornography

Used 'dark web' to view and share child pornography

A 52-year-old man accessed “the dark web” to view and share child pornograpjy, the district court heard.

Andrew Sankey (52), 21 Cedarbrook Walk, Cherry Orchard, Dublin, was charged with possession of child pornography, at his previous address in Mountrath, on June 1, 2016.

Garda Sgt Brian Kennedy gave evidence that an image of child pornography was uploaded to a website which was identified by authorities in the USA, who contacted the gardaí.

A bench warrant was obtained for the accused’s home and electronic devices of his were seized. The accused made a statement to gardaí, admitting to having and sharing child pornography.

He identified the image as one he had uploaded.

Sgt Kenney said the image was category one and depicted a prepubescent teenage girl in an erotic pose.

Defence, solicitor Mr Barry Fitzgerald said the accused had his own background issues, to which Sgt Kennedy confirmed that the accused had made an allegation to gardaí about an incident from his youth.

Mr Fitzgerald said the accused had been subject to a very unpleasant experience himself and had been labouring under the turmoil of that, suffering depression and anxiety.

Mr Fitzgerald went on to say that the accused had not required a password to access the website, which was a disturbing aspect of the case, and had simply entered “the dark web”.

He said the image was category one, the lowest possible type, and there had been no injured party directly affected by his behaviour.

To this, Judge Catherine Staines said she totally disagreed with defence’s claim that there was no injured party.

“The injured parties in child pornography are young children who are abused for the sexual gratification of adults, anyone who watches it is responsible for the abuse of these children,” said Judge Staines.

Saying the offence merited a prison sentence, Judge Staines decided that she wanted to see a probation report on the accused before finalising the case.

The matter was adjourned to June 4 next.

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