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Man jailed for possession of child porn

Man jailed for possession of child porn

A man with a previous conviction for possession of child pornography who admitted to gardai he had relapsed into viewing the material has been jailed for one year.

John O'Dowd (42) was given a nine month suspended sentence in the UK in 2003 and was subject to the sex offenders register there. As a result when he moved to Ireland he was subject to monitoring here by the gardai.

He made the admission about a “lapse” in his internet viewing habits to a garda who had called to interview him as part of that process.

O'Dowd, of Beech Park, Lucan, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of child pornography at his home on September 4, 2010. Most of the 170 images found were at the lowest level of categorisation depicting nude erotic posing of non-penetrative nature.

There were 39 files categorised as level four depicting penetrative sex between children and adults.

Judge Melanie Greally said that a psychiatric report set out O'Dowd's personal history which had not been without challenges, but noted that he had not taken personal responsibility and resented or objected to the supervisory role taken by the garda within the community.

She said that the case had its origins in his admissions and he had not come to any further garda attention. She noted he had completed a treatment program at the Grenada Institute.

Judge Greally imposed an 18 month sentence and suspended the final six months on strict conditions including that he avail of all therapy available to him.

Sergeant Declan Birchall told Fiona Murphy BL, prosecuting, that he called to interview O'Dowd using a risk assessment tool in September 2010 and O'Dowd told him that there had been a “lapse” in his internet viewing habits.

Sgt Birchall said he applied for a search warrant and went back to O'Dowd's home. He asked him if he had any images of child sex abuse and O'Dowd told him he had bought a DVD from the internet but could not view it as he had not paid for the password.

He handed over the package to gardai who also seized his laptop and some storage devices.

In total there were 170 images found classified as child pornography. The images were classified in categories numbered one to five, with level one showing children in erotic positions and level five depicting the most serious sexual abuse.

There were 108 images categorised as level one, seven categorised as level two, 16 categorised as level three and 39 images and video files categorised as level four. Level four depicts penetrative sex between children and adults. There were no level five images found.

Sgt Birchall agreed with Damien Colgan SC, defending, that O'Dowd seemed confused and withdrawn. Sgt Birchall said O'Dowd was eccentric and lacking in social skills.

Mr Colgan said O'Dowd had indicated to gardai that he did not pay for the material and was not involved in distributing or sharing it. He said there had been no further garda attention since 2010.

He handed in a psychologists report and said O'Dowd was at low risk of re-offending with a caveat that the risk increased if he was given access to the internet. He said it was his understanding that O'Dowd did not use the internet.

Counsel said O'Dowd was currently unemployed but had a good work history and was seeking employment.