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suspended sentence Father-of-one caught with child porn after sharing image on Facebook avoids jail

Aung told gardaí he thought it was 'OK' to watch and share child pornography and had not taken it seriously up until the time of his arrest

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Dublin Circuit Criminal Court (Niall Carson/PA)

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court (Niall Carson/PA)

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court (Niall Carson/PA)

A father-of-one who was caught with child pornography after he shared such an image on Facebook has been given an 18-month suspended sentence.

Ye Lin Aung (48) was living in a bedroom in a house share when gardaí arrived and seized two phones and a USB key.

One of the phones was later found to have four images and four videos on it that “constituted child pornography” Detective Garda Pauline Traynor told the court.

Aung immediately made admissions and said he had joined both a Facebook group and a WhatsApp group for the purpose of sharing adult pornography, but accepted that “sometimes” those videos and images depicted children.

He said he once shared one of the videos he received in the group on Facebook which led to his account being blocked.

Aung told gardaí he thought it was “OK” to watch and share child pornography and had not taken it seriously up until the time of his arrest.

Det Gda Traynor accepted that Aung didn’t seek out the content, didn’t like receiving it and didn’t get any sexual gratification from it.

Aung of Church Street East, East Wall, Dublin 3, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of child pornography and knowingly distributing child pornography on dates between January 1, 2020 and August 30, 2020. He has no previous convictions.

Judge Melanie Greally said it was “an unusual case” in that there was “an element of recklessness” relating to the distribution of the material “rather than any pre-meditated effort (by Aung) to share such material with like-minded people”.

“It was not through any effort on his own part to obtain or access child pornography, but because of his interest in adult pornography,” that he received these files, Judge Greally said.

She said it was still a serious case because of the very young age of some of the children involved.

Judge Greally took into account Aung’s co-operation with the gardaí and “candid” admissions, his employment record and lack of previous convictions before she suspended an 18-month sentence on strict conditions.

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Det Gda Traynor told David Perry BL, prosecuting, that Aung’s home was searched on August 30, 2020 after gardaí were alerted to the fact that a Facebook account linked to Aung had uploaded a video that constituted child pornography.

He voluntarily handed over the PIN code for both phones and login details for his social media accounts.

Det Gda Traynor said four images found depicted children from the age of three to 10 years old involved in sexually explicit activity with either children or adults.

One video showed a girl aged about 12 years old, undressing and showing her genitalia, while the remaining three videos showed children, some as young three, engaged in sexual activity.

Det Gda Traynor confirmed that there was a large quantity of adult pornography on both phones, but no child pornography on the second phone. There was nothing of interest to the gardaí on the USB key.

Det Gda Traynor agreed with Karl Moran BL, defending, that his client’s purpose for joining these groups was to access adult pornography and he had only been involved with the groups for a few months.

She accepted that Aung didn’t participate in the production of the images and videos nor did he sell any of the material.

She further accepted that he has one adult son and sends money home to his family. He has been a citizen in Ireland since 2017 and “lives a modest existence”.

Mr Moran said his client is a recovering alcoholic and “doesn’t trust himself around alcohol” so doesn’t socialise and as result “suffers from loneliness”. He still attends Alcohol Anonymous.

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