A man who “tweeted” sexually explicit images of children has received a suspended sentence.
Derek Malone (59), with an address in Clifden Drive, Ballyfermot, pleaded guilty to possession of images and videos of child pornography at his address on January 27th, 2016. He has no previous convictions.
Garda Martin O'Gara told Kieran Kelly BL, prosecuting, that Gardaí became aware of activity on a Twitter account in September 2015 and that there were images worthy of further enquiry.
Gda O'Gara said Gardaí were of the view that 19 of those images may constitute “child pornography” and an IP address was located for the Twitter account in question.
Gardaí obtained a search warrant for Malone's address and during a subsequent search they seized a number of items including a black mobile phone.
Eight images and three videos were discovered on the phone depicting naked prepubescent girls in “various activities”, including engaging in sexual acts with other children.
In interview with Gardaí, Malone admitted he had been looking at pornography for a while and accepted that some items could be illegal material. He expressed some regret for his activities.
Gda O'Gara agreed with Michael Hourigan BL, defending, that the offending was “highly unsophisticated” and was always going to be detected because it was done via social media.
The garda agreed with counsel that his client's wife had significant health issues in the previous years prior to the offence and also agreed that this offending was something Malone seemed to be doing while abusing alcohol in the evening.
Mr Hourigan said there was an “inevitability” his client would be apprehended. He submitted his client was not a person who could be deemed to have been engaging in this activity for a long period of time because had he been doing so, he would have been caught.
Judge Melanie Greally said she was taking into consideration Malone's regret and remorse for his actions and the fact that he was going through a difficult patch at the time of the offending with a family member fighting cancer.
She also noted the offending was committed five years ago and that Malone has positively engaged with the Probation Service in the meantime.
Judge Greally sentenced Malone to nine months imprisonment, but suspended the sentence in its entirety on condition that he engage with the Probation Service, particularly with regard to his alcohol abuse.