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Suspended sentence for man who pleaded guilty to possessing 531 child pornography images

A factor in not imposing a jail term was the “undue delay” by the State in prosecuting the case.

Ennis Circuit Court
Ennis Circuit Court
Image: Shutterstock/shutterupeire

A 41-YEAR old Shannon man has had to move house twice since his child pornography  downloading offences were made public.

That is according to counsel for Ciaran Moore, Brian McInerney BL, who said that his client now faces “a life sentence of condemnation and opprobrium within the society in which he lives”.

Mr Moore has pleaded guilty to the possession of 531 child explicit images and 24 child explicit movies at his former home in the greater Tullyvarraga area of Shannon, Co Clare. 

Addressing Ennis Circuit Court, Mr McInerney said that society “is not happy about Mr Moore residing in the neighbourhood and that has led to Mr Moore having to move house on two separate occasions”.

He said: “Cases of this nature receive very extensive media coverage as this has done. This will become once again a live issue as the members of the fourth estate are lined up – doubtless editors are waiting to put some lurid headline over the piece and doubtless photographers are lurking in the vicinity to take more photographs.”

Mr McInerney said: “Of course they are entitled to this – that is the democracy we live in, but that will have an impact on the accused.”

Mr McInerney said that Mr Moore’s “employment chances are great prejudiced – any CV that includes a conviction such as this would be thrown into the waste paper basket by any employer”.

‘Justice denied’

Mr Moore walked free from court after Judge Gerald Keys imposed a three-year suspended jail term on the man.

Judge Keys said that a factor in not imposing a jail term was the “undue delay” by the State in prosecuting the case.

The offences took place on October 31st and November 1st 2012 and a lack of resources at the time at the Garda Cyber Crime unit in examining the computer evidence contributed to the delay in the case coming to court.

Judge Keys said: “Justice delayed is justice denied.”

Mr Moore first pleaded guilty to the offences in June of last year and the case was adjourned from last November for the preparation of a psychiatric report on Mr Moore which has found that he is not suffering from any psychiatric illness.

Mr McInerney said that Mr Moore had suggested to gardaí that he was “a paedophile hunter” as the reason for downloading the child porn.

Mr Moore told gardaí that he reported the child pornography to websites but could not provide the names of those websites.

Mr Moore told gardaí that he “was saving the child porn as it might be needed as evidence in any future investigation”.

However, Judge Keys rejected that Mr Moore was downloading the child porn images as part of a crusade against those producing child pornography.

Judge Keys said: “I fail to see how this personal crusade of yours could have assisted law enforcement agencies to prevent downloading this type of material.”

Mr McInerney said Mr Moore “spent far too much time in a dark room on a computer and should have been doing other things”.

Cyber Crime Unit

Judge Keys said that Mr Moore had pleaded guilty, has no previous convictions, co-operated with gardaí and has shown remorse.

In evidence, expert witness, Det Garda Ciara Scully of the Garda National Cyber Crime Unit said that some of the images found include girls as young as three and four in sexually explicit activity.

Det Scully said that other images show male adults engaging in penetrative sex with pre-pubescent children in videos.

Det Scully said that Mr Moore had encrypted the child pornography  material and it took gardaí two years to break a password on a computer that led to more child pornography  images.

The password on the computer was “Iampowerful.”

Counsel for the State, Lorcan Connolly BL raised concerns over the psychiatric report where Mr Moore stated  that he accepted what he did was technically breaking the law and doesn’t believe that he requires treatment.

Mr Moore denied any sexual interest in male or female children and denied watching any material depicting the sexual abuse of children for sexual purposes. 

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Gordon Deegan

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