Student who tried to hide child sex abuse material from gardaí avoids jail

Student Who Tried To Hide Child Sex Abuse Material From Gardaí Avoids Jail
Dylan Edmonds (28), of Cromwellsfort Road, Walkinstown, Dublin, pleaded guilty to a single charge of child pornography. Photo: Collins
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Seán McCárthaigh

A computer science student who tried to delete child sexual abuse material from his laptop after gardaí were informed he needed the computer for his exams has been given a suspended sentence.

Dylan Edmonds (28), of Cromwellsfort Road, Walkinstown, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Naas Circuit Criminal Court to a single charge of child pornography between May 19th and May 25th, 2016, contrary to Section 6 of the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998.


The former computer science student at Maynooth University admitted having 90 images and three videos containing child sexual abuse material on an Asus computer which was discovered by gardaí on May 19th, 2016 at his then address in Ballymore Eustace, Co Kildare.

A sitting of Naas Circuit Criminal Court previously heard evidence that the computer was not seized at the time because the defendant’s mother had claimed he needed it for upcoming exams.

Edmonds told gardaí six days later when he handed over the laptop that he had come across the offensive material as part of research for his studies and had tried to report it to the CIA in the US via e-mail.

However, Detective Garda Eoin Kelly told the court that a forensic “painstaking” examination of the computer showed that the accused had used two software programmes to try and erase material from it and a separate programme to see if files could be recovered.


Encrypted folder

Gardaí also found the child sexual abuse material in an encrypted folder labelled with Edmonds’ name.

The court heard that 49 images and all three videos were classified as containing the most explicit type of “Category 1” material involving children aged under 17 engaged in sexual acts.

Another 27 images were “Category 2” content which showed children exposing their genitalia, while the remaining 14 “Category 3” images contained cartoon animations of children engaged in sexual activity.

The laptop also contained a 131-page document about the sexual activity of a 10-year-old girl entitled: “He Seduced His Little Sister” as well as a handbook with the title: “How to Practise Child Love” and 182 pornographic cartoon images of children.


Edmonds failed to respond to questions about how such material came to be on his laptop following his arrest. However, he confirmed that nobody else had used the equipment or had access to it.

The court heard Edmonds has one previous conviction for stalking and harassment at Carrickmacross District Court last year in relation to an offence in 2016 to which an 18-month probation bond was applied.

At a sentencing hearing on Monday, counsel for the DPP, Seoirse Ó Dúnlaing BL expressed concern about the defendant’s compliance with his obligations of being placed on the sex offenders register.

Baby fair

Mr Ó Dúnlaing said Edmonds had attended a baby fair at the RDS last month.


However, counsel for Edmonds, Desmond Hayes BL, said his client had been merely delivering and removing stock to and from the exhibition and had no engagement with the public.

Mr Hayes said Edmonds was not aware that he might be in violation of his obligations as a sex offender.

He told Judge Mary O’Malley Costello that his client’s employer had not allowed Edmonds to attend the RDS the following day and that he had been released from his job last week.

Mr Hayes also urged the judge to consider imposing a suspended sentence in order to allow Edmonds to complete his participation in the Safer Lives treatment programme for sex offenders which he is due to finish in March 2024.


The judge said it was difficult to understand how Edmonds had not understood the effect of being on the sex offenders register.

Judge O’Malley Costello also remarked that Edmonds had been in denial about his responsibility in downloading and saving the child pornographic material, although she acknowledged he had offered an early guilty plea and had provided gardaí with passwords to his computer.

While Edmonds was not directly involved in the generation of the images, the judge said the effect of downloading such material was horrific for the victims for the rest of their lives.

She said it was important that in sentencing she would deter others from committing the same unacceptable offence.

'Very bad and sad road'

The judge said Edmonds had gone down “a very bad and sad road,” although she accepted that he was very young at the time.

However, she said he had an issue with relationships which was something he needed to learn about.

Sentencing Edmonds to 17 months in prison for the offence, Judge O’Malley Costello said she would suspend the entire term for the same period in order to allow him to complete the Safer Lives programme.

The judge warned Edmonds he needed to be very careful how he managed material on his computers.

Mr O’Dúnlaing sought an order directing the destruction of two phones, an iPad and laptop which had been seized by gardaí from Edmonds whose counsel had sought their return.

The judge directed the destruction of the equipment but ruled that gardaí should first check and return to Edmonds any personal material contained in them that was deemed suitable.

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