Kerry man found to have thousands of child pornography images jailed for two years

By Fiona Ferguson

A Kerry man who was caught in possession of thousands of child pornography images as a result of a EUROPOL investigation has been jailed for two years.

John O'Donoghue (38) also distributed illegal images and movies via email and a file sharing network. He admitted to gardai that he was addicted to looking at child pornography.

O'Donoghue, formerly of Galtymore Park, Drimnagh and currently with an address in Killarney, Co Kerry, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to distribution of child pornography on dates between November and December 2009 and possession of child pornography in September 2012.

O'Donoghue, a qualified engineer, has no previous convictions.

Judge Martin Nolan noted O'Donoghue had been communicating online with “like-minded individuals” and the images he shared were not for “general distribution” but shared with individuals using the same websites as him.

“This is not a victimless crime because somewhere in the world there are actual children being abused,” said Judge Nolan.

He noted O'Donoghue was an educated man with a strong work history. He also took into account that O'Donoghue's family had suffered a type of “social ostracisation” as a result of his offending.

He said that he had no doubt O'Donoghue felt shame and remorse.

Judge Nolan said he had to take into account the “tardiness” of the prosecution which had caused a level of stress for O'Donoghue in having the case hanging over him for a number of years.

Judge Nolan imposed a four year sentence and suspended the final two years. He ordered the destruction of the material.

Garda Ian Ward told Monika Leech BL, prosecuting, that as a result of information passed on from an Europol investigation gardai obtained a search warrant in 2012 for a previous Dublin address of O'Donoghue where they seized a laptop and USB key.

O'Donoghue initially attended voluntarily for interview in 2012 and admitted being a user of a website that was a meeting place for people with a sexual interest in boys. Gardai asked if he was addicted to viewing child porn and he said he was.

He was interviewed again in 2017 following analysis of the material and readily accepted his participation in the offences and his level of involvement.

The gardai agreed with Karl Moran BL, defending, that there had not been “wide scale” swapping of the images online and that O'Donoghue had not benefited financially. There was no suggestion O'Donoghue was involved in making any of the material.

Mr Moran said O'Donoghue was a qualified engineer, previously employed in the Motor Tax Office, who had been living until recently in Dublin but had since moved home to Kerry. He said this has been difficult for his family who have lost friends

He said O'Donoghue had had this case hanging over him for five years and had used alcohol to deal with the stress. He said he rarely left his home due to the reaction he gets.

Mr Moran asked the court to take into account his client's co-operation, early guilty plea, previous good record and admissions.

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