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Trial hears evidence against garda accused of possession of child pornography

The images of the child sexual abuse were allegedly found on a laptop.

Updated Oct 31st 2018, 8:15 PM

Note: Details contained in this court report may be disturbing to readers.

VIDEOS FOUND ON a laptop seized from the home of a garda showed boys under the age of ten subjected to sexually explicit acts, a jury has hard.

Joseph O’Connor (58) from west Dublin has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to five counts of possession of child pornography at his home in west Dublin in 2011.

During a search of the defendant’s home on 2 August 2011, gardaí seized a Dell laptop. Garda Janette Walsh told Alice Fawsitt SC, prosecuting, that she carried out an analysis of the laptop’s hard drive using specialised software.

She said that files depicting children being subjected to explicit sexual acts were found at various locations on the hard drive on a computer seized at his home during a search in August 2011.

Garda Walsh said that she found 43 movie files in the recycle bin folder of the computer. She said that that 15 of these showed young boys being subjected to a sexual act.

Three of these movies involved boys under the age of ten subjected to anal and oral-penile penetration, she said. 

The other 12 movies retrieved showed boys between the age of ten and 17, Garda Walsh said. 

Garda Walsh said that she also found 92 images depicting children under 17 being subjected to sexual acts and 136 images of child exposure elsewhere on the hard drive. Many of these files were duplicates of the same images.

Paul Carroll SC, defending, said his client accepted that the files identified by Garda Walsh come under the legal definition of child pornography. Judge Elma Sheahan told the jury this means they would not be expected to view the files themselves.

Garda Walsh agreed with Carroll that the laptop did not have a password and anyone going to it could use it. She said that some of the details on other files indicated that the file was not accessed after it was created at the location it was found.

Carroll said “there was a massive amount of activity on adult porn sites” on the laptop. Garda Walsh agreed that over 300,000 images of adult pornography were found, including 225,000 images on the inaccessible area of the hard drive.

Around 8,000 adult porn movies were on the laptop, with over 5,000 of these in the user inaccessible area.

Deleted files

The trial began last week but has been in legal argument for much of that time. It continues before Judge Sheahan and a jury of ten men and two women.

Garda Walsh explained that when files are deleted they first go into the computer’s “recycle bin”. When files are “permanently” deleted from this area they go to the unallocated area of computer memory until they are overwritten when that space is needed.

She said this area is normally inaccessible to users and the files can only be accessed from there using the specialist software.

She said that she used such software to recover a further 16 distinct images deemed child pornography. These images depicted boys under 17 being subjected to sexual acts or boys under the age of 17 with their genital area is exposed.

Another 42 video files, most of boys engaged in penetrative sex, were recovered from the unallocated space.

The witness agreed with Carroll that once files are recovered from the unallocated cluster there is no information about how or when the file was created or who had access to it.

“All I can say is that there were present on the computer system at some point,” she said.

Earlier evidence

In earlier evidence Garda Walsh said she found 92 images of child explicit sex, depicting a child under 17 being subjected to sexual acts.

She said that there were another 136 images of child exposure. She said these are images of children under the age of 17 where their genital area is exposed. She said these are images of children under the age of 17 where their genital area is exposed.

Two of these images were located in a folder labelled “Spanked Boys” and that the other files were just copies of these images.

She said that there were 85 movie files showing children under the age of 17 engaged in sexual acts with other males.

There were 43 movie files found in the recycle bin folder of the laptop and 15 of these were deemed to be young boys being subjected to a sexual act, the witness said.

Garda Walsh said that a search of the laptop’s internet history showed a number of adult pornography sites were visited and that these had references to images and videos of teenage boys.

She said she found pictures of the accused and a photograph of his garda ID card on the laptop as well as a Skype account under the name JP1Dub with the full name as Joe.

Comments are closed as legal proceedings are ongoing. 

She said the profile image on that account was the defendant.

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Declan Brennan

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