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Man jailed for possession of child porn has term extended after more images found

The man was due for release in January.

File photo.
File photo.
Image: Shutterstock/A. and I. Kruk

A MAN SERVING a sentence for possession of child pornography has had his term extended by 18 months after further images and videos recovered in the investigation were analysed.

James Clarke (62) received a ten years imprisonment with the final two years suspended in 2013 after admitting possession and distribution of child pornography. He was due for release in January.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard the material in the 2013 sentencing hearing was considered so serious that it had been “fast tracked” through analysis at the Garda Cyber Crime Bureau.

The material in today’s case was also retrieved during the garda investigation into Clarke but analysis of it was delayed for a number of years because of a “backlog” at the unit.

Clarke, formerly of Devlis Cottage, Ballyhaunis, Mayo, pleaded guilty to possession of 785 images of child pornography on devices at his address in Mayo in January 2012 and 1009 images and three videos on devices at a former address in Drogheda in December 2010.

The court heard the images and videos recovered during these searches fell into category one and two relating to under 17 year olds involved in or witnessing explicit sexual activity and under 17s with their genitals exposed.

Clarke also has a UK conviction for having sex with a minor during the 1970s.

The court heard Clarke has been a model prisoner during his time in custody and told gardaí during interview in 2016 that he was now disgusted at the material they found on his devices.

Lawyers for Clarke submitted that if all the material had been “fast tracked” the case would have been finalised on the previous occasion and said he should not suffer due to a systemic delay.

Judge Martin Nolan said possession of child pornography was not a victimless crime as it encouraged unscrupulous third parties to produce this material.

He noted that Clarke had pleaded guilty and co-operated with the investigation. “I think I can say he has tried to reform himself in prison,” said Judge Nolan.

Judge Nolan said the probation report was “mixed” and noted the probation officer considered there was a risk of re-offending in the future. He noted that Clarke had had his own difficulties in his past but said what he did was “unforgivable.”

Judge Nolan said he had to try and envisage what sentence would have been imposed if all the material had been dealt with together at sentencing in 2013. He said the sentence would have been somewhat longer as extra wrong doing had to be punished.

He imposed a three and a half year sentence with the final two years suspended to run consecutive to his current term.

The judge said he was partly suspending the sentence due to the mitigating circumstances, the delay and in the hope of reform. He ordered two years probation supervision.

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Fiona Ferguson

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