A Scottish man who came to Ireland for a "fresh start" has received a five and a half year prison sentence for harassment and possession of child sex abuse images.
Some 40,000 images of women’s and girls’ legs, groins and buttocks, including "up-skirt" photos of school girls, were found on Paul Boyle's mobile phone when an off-duty garda spotted him acting suspiciously on a Luas carriage.
A follow-up search of Boyle’s home at Sandyford View, Blackglen Road, Dublin 18 found hundreds of thousands of similar images.
Dublin Criminal Circuit Court heard that on December 16th, 2019 the off-duty garda noticed that a fellow passenger kept moving throughout the carriage and was holding a mobile phone below waist level.
Detective Garda Colm Grogan told Eoin Lawlor, BL, prosecuting, that the garda could see from the reflection in the Luas window that the man was taking photographs of a woman’s buttock.
The garda followed the man off the Luas, identified himself, and confronted him. He then alerted an on-duty garda, and the man’s phone was seized, and he was brought to Dundrum Garda Station. The man refused to give his name and address to gardai, but eventually handed over his work ID.
Paul Boyle (45) was questioned, but made no admission to gardaí.
His phone was searched and the 40,000 images were found. These included up-skirt images of girls wearing school uniforms, Det Gda Grogan told the court.
A search warrant was obtained for Boyle’s home and several flash drive devices were found and seized. Over half a million images were found on one flash drive; 275,800 were images of the groins and buttocks of women, young ladies and girls. These images were taken between June 2018 and January 2020.
The court heard that a disturbing video was also found on a flash drive which showed an eight-year-old child being bound and raped. Det Gda Grogan told the court that from liaising with authorities in other countries, this video first came to light in 2002, and the child has since been located and is being cared for.
He said the video was extremely explicit, and it was the first time that this video had come to the attention of gardaí in Ireland.
Other images seized by gardaí contained images of Boyle’s co-workers. When contacted, these women were very distressed and felt horrified and violated.
Victim impact reports were handed into court. He has several previous convictions from his time living in Scotland, some of which were of a similar nature.
In March, Boyle pleaded guilty to harassment at a place in Dublin city between November and December 2019. He also admitted possession of child pornography, the video, at his home on January 28th, 2020.
Morgan Shelley, BL, defending, said his client is originally from Scotland and came to Ireland in 2018 for "a fresh start".
The court heard that Boyle was previously addicted to alcohol and gambling and felt deep regret for his actions. Mr Shelley said his client has a good work history and entered a guilty plea which spared his victims from giving evidence.
A psychiatric assessment outlined that Boyle is off a medium risk of reoffending, but that he appears focused on his recovery. However, it also said that he finds being in custody "impossible" and "very difficult".
Judge Martin Nolan described Boyle’s behaviour as being on an "industrial scale of photographing and recording young children and women". He said the accused did not restrict himself to taking images in his workplace, but he photographed women and girls throughout Dublin, especially in the Ranelagh area.
Concerning the video, Judge Nolan described it as an extremely explicit 15-minute video of an eight-year-old child being abused. He also said Boyle's previous convictions were an aggravating factor in this case.
Judge Nolan took into consideration Boyle’s guilty plea and that he is remorseful, regretful and shameful of his actions.
Judge Nolan sentenced Boyle to three years imprisonment for the harassment. On the count of possession of child pornography, he imposed a five-year prison term, to run consecutive to the other sentence.
However, Judge Nolan suspended the final two and a half years and backdated it when Boyle went into custody in March 2021. He ordered that Boyle can never make any form of contact with any of the victims of who he took images and also imposed two years of post release supervision.
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can call the national 24-hour Rape Crisis Helpline at 1800 77 8888, access text service and webchat options at drcc.ie/services/helpline/, or visit Rape Crisis Help.
In the case of an emergency, always dial 999/112.