A CORK City woman who confessed to distributing child pornography in respect of a single video file depicting a two-year-old boy being sexually assaulted by a man was given an 18-month suspended jail term.
Michelle Coakley of 30 Bridevalley Park, Fairhill, was sentenced by Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin at Cork Circuit Criminal Court where she admitted two charges related to the video.
Judge Ó Donnabháin said a child pornography prosecution arising out of a single video was unusual.
“This lady pleaded guilty to possession and distribution of child pornography,” said the judge.
“The facts are somewhat unusual — very unusual to have a plead in relation to one video file. It is not alleged that she was on the net looking for these videos.
"It came to her unsolicited and then she sent it on. That is somewhat unusual but she did distribute a video file which anyone looking at it would say was offensive. The person receiving it sensibly reported it to the guards.”
The judge imposed an 18-month sentence suspended on condition that she would keep the peace for the next 18 months.
Sinead Behan, defence barrister, characterised the young woman as naïve in her approach to the matter.
“It attracted a lot of publicity and she found this difficult, living locally,” said Ms Behan.
Sergeant Donal Cashman said that the defendant said she intended sending the video to another person to see if the child in the video could be identified but accidentally forwarded it to the person who reported it to gardaí.
Coakley pleaded guilty to charges that she did knowingly distribute child pornography for the purpose of distribution, publication, exportation, sale, or show, contrary to the Criminal Justice Pornography Act of 1998, and she was in possession of child pornography on a mobile phone.
Both charges related to January 24, 2018.