A 63-year-old man was caught with sexually explicit images of children on his laptop after a Facebook “inappropriate image” alert was triggered, a court has heard.
Aidan Scanlon told gardaí that he didn't know he had the illegal images on his laptop in August 2016. Sentencing him on Wednesday, Judge Martin Nolan suspended in full a prison term of one year saying he was “probably unlikely to reoffend”.
Scanlon pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possessing five images of child pornography at his home on the Navan Road, on August 28th, 2016.
Detective Garda Shane Behan told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that gardaí received an alert from Facebook after a user uploaded an inappropriate image onto the social media site.
Gardaí traced the email address attached to the Facebook account to Scanlon’s home and got a warrant to search the premises.
Scanlon was not at home when gardaí searched his house and seized his laptop in August 2016, but he went voluntarily to a garda station in October of that year.
Gda Behan told the court that five illegal images of young boys under 12 were found on Scanlon’s laptop. One of the images was of an adult man engaging in sexual activity with two boys, while another image was of young boys with their genitals exposed.
The court heard Scanlon told gardaí he lived by himself and that the laptop and email address were his. However, he disputed being “knowingly” in possession of child pornography, Gda Behan said.
Scanlon was arrested in May 2019, and although he initially took a trial date, he signalled his intention to plead guilty and did so three months before his scheduled trial. He has no previous convictions.
Garda Behan agreed with Garrett Casey BL, defending, that Scanlon had found the experience of coming before court “chastening and alarming” and had not come to garda attention since this offence.
Mr Casey said his client wished to apologise to the court.
The court heard that Scanlon had been self-employed refitting organs and keyboards in places like the National Concert Hall, but that work had largely dried up during the pandemic and that he was presently unemployed, although he did some part-time work as a carer.
Judge Nolan said Scanlon had made helpful admissions to gardaí and had a good work history. He ordered Scanlon to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for a year.