Solicitor hits out against 'vigilantes' in Newbridge child pornography case

"I’m sure everybody living in Liffey Hall in Newbridge is without sin and in a position to throw stones" - solicitor

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Solicitor hits out against 'vigilantes' in Newbridge child pornography case

The case was heard in Naas

A solicitor representing a man who has pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of child pornography has denounced as "despicable" people taking the law into their own hands, and vigilantes.

At Naas District Court yesterday, Thursday, October 11, solicitor Conal Boyce, who is representing Damien Conlon, 51, with an address listed as 24 The Park, Liffey Hall, Newbridge, said he wanted the court to “tell the populace of that part of Newbridge” that it alone could dispense justice and that it would be enforced by the Gardai, "and not anyone else.

“Vigilantism in any form is despicable,” he said, before adding “I’m sure there are no wife beaters in that part of Newbridge. I’m sure everybody living in Liffey Hall in Newbridge is without sin and in a position to throw stones.

“It is the responsibility of this court and no other body to enforce justice!”

Mr  Conlon formally pleaded guilty to the charge in the District Court, and can now be put onto the sex offenders register.

Mr Boyce asked the judge to adjourn the matter to allow for the preparation of a  Probation Report in the case.

He said that he was aware of certain background issues, including a letter from a psychotherapist who Mr Conlon is seeing, which would suggest that such a report would be necessary.

The evidence against the defendant is that on June 17, 2013, at his address in Liffey Hall, Gardai seized two laptops which contained two movie files containing material classed as child pornography.

Sgt Brian Jacob said that the offence was “on the lower end” in terms of its seriousness. The images showed young boys in a state of undress in a shower situation.

Sgt Jacob asked Judge Desmond Zaidan for a reporting restriction to protect Mr Conlon’s wife and children from the negative publicity that case could bring on them.

However, Mr Boyce said he believed the “horse had bolted on that at this point. It’s all out there”.

Judge Zaidan refused the request saying that the children in the video were the innocent victims in this situation. “This is a very serious situation,” he noted. “They’re the real victims here.”

Judge Zaidan said that the defendant was likely to end up in prison. “It’s simply a matter of how long.”

The judge said he wanted to ban the defendant from all electronic devices, but Sgt Jacob was of the view that that was unenforceable.

That matter was adjourned to allow the the Probation Service to prepare its report.