11 month sentence for Wicklow man convicted of child pornography possession

District Court

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11 month sentence for Wicklow man convicted of child pornography possession

Athy courthouse

A Wicklow man has been jailed for the possession of child pornography on his phone.

The 21-year-old, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victim, appeared before the Athy sitting of Naas District Court on Thursday, October 3.

The man was convicted of Section 6(1) of the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act, 1998, possession of child pornography on a phone on a date unknown between October 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016.

Evidence was given that the defendant, who was 18 at the time, had a picture of a 13-year-old girl with her naked breasts exposed on his phone.

The court heard from the prosecuting garda that the man’s phone was seized in relation to a larger investigation.

The prosecuting garda told Judge Desmond Zaidan that the defendant befriended the injured party on Snapchat, and a number of photos were exchanged. The court heard the defendant made full admissions when interviewed by gardai.

Sgt Brian Jacob told the court that the defendant has 40 previous convictions for similar type matters, and is currently serving an eight year sentence which was suspended for three years.

“Your client is a serious threat to young girls”, Judge Zaidan told the defendant’s solicitor, Stephen Walsh.

Mr Walsh said he believes his client is working with psychologists in prison. He said a letter of apology would be available to the injured party at a later date.

In passing sentence, Judge Zaidan said he noted the defendant’s guilty plea and that he has been told the defendant is seeing experts in prison. He acknowledged the defendant’s 40 previous convictions, for "inappropriate sexual behaviour".

He said he has read the victim impact statement, and that the incident has had a detrimental effect on the young girl. He said there was no question the girl was vulnerable at the time.

Judge Zaidan said he has already directed the defendant’s name be put on the sex offenders register.

Judge Zaidan said that bearing in mind the maximum sentence is 12 months, he sentenced the defendant to 11 months in custody, discounting one month because of the early plea.

He backdated the sentence to September 26, because a guilty plea was entered on this date. Judge Zaidan also directed that the photo of the child be removed from all social media forums.