A ‘UNIQUE’ case saw a Cork man being convicted and sentenced today for having child pornography in the form of the written word only and no images.
A nine-page document took the form of a fictional representation of children being abused or involved in incest. Defence solicitor Frank Buttimer accepted that the case was properly classified as child pornography and that his client – 53-year-old Joe Murphy – was pleading guilty to possessing it.
Judge Olann Kelleher agreed at Cork District Court that it was a unique offence and he imposed a nine-month prison sentence on Murphy, but suspended it on condition that the accused complies with all of the directions of the Probation Service in addressing issues related to this offence.
“It is nine months subject to that,” said Judge Kelleher. “The Probation Service will bring the case back to court if you do not attend [the counselling required].”
Murphy was living at a flat at 26 Leitrim St, Cork, at the time of the offence.
The charge states that on March 1, 2014, he did knowingly have in his possession child pornography, to wit, a nine-page written story that depicted children engaged in sexual and incestuous acts contrary to Child Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998.
Sergeant Gearóid Davis said gardaí called to his flat on that date seven years ago as part of an investigation of an unrelated incident.
“He voluntarily handed over his mobile phone to assist in the investigation,” said Sgt Davis. “As a normal part of the Garda enquiries, they had the exhibit forensically examined. They recovered a nine-page PDF document from the phone. It was a written document and no images.”
Mr Buttimer said the probation report on the accused was as comprehensive a report as he had ever read in a case.
“I have not come across a case of this kind,” he said. “It is simply written material. It is somewhat unique. I think you [the judge)] will accept it is in the lower order of offensiveness, and there are images of nobody, which I think should be mentioned.
“There is a programme of rehabilitation. This investigation has been a burden for him since 2014. It was detected nearly seven years ago, and has been weighing on his mind. Mr Murphy assures me it has been very difficult for him to be in court.
“Quite rightly, the DPP has decided on summary [district rather than circuit court] disposal. And nothing occurred of an offensive nature from 2014.”
Sgt Davis added that Joe Murphy had no previous convictions of this nature.
Judge Kelleher said of the offence: “It is unusual and unique. It is essay form or short story with no images and no victims depicted.”
The nine-month sentence was suspended on condition that the accused cooperates with the Probation Service for the next two years.