suspended sentence | 

Man (91) of ‘deep spiritual faith’ who had child abuse images on his computer avoids jail

The offence came to light in April on 2018 when he dropped his Apple Mac computer in to Joyce’s Electrical for servicing.

Wexford People

A 91-year-old described by his barrister as being of deep spiritual faith had an unhealthy and illegal interest in child abuse images, the Circuit Court in Wexford learned.

James Israel from Rosedale Cottage, Rathyork, Bridgetown, pleaded guilty before Judge Martin Nolan to possession of illicit images.

The offence came to light in April on 2018 when he dropped his Apple Mac computer in to Joyce’s Electrical for servicing.

The technician assigned to carry out the work was concerned by the pictures on the device and the gardaí were alerted.

The alarm was raised after the technician was confronted by images of young boys with their genitals exposed.

The Apple Mac was seized by investigators, as was a personal computer found when Rosedale Cottage was searched under warrant.

Israel’s response was to argue that, as there was no adult in any of the pictures, the material should not be classified as pornography.

However, the law dictated otherwise and the elderly man pleaded guilty.

Details of what was found on two computers were given to the court by Detective Garda Trevor Buckley.

Hundreds of images of young boys not deemed pornographic showed up, the detective said.

However there was also more sinister material, including a haul of pornographic cartoons.

And the court’s attention was drawn to four images of explicit child sex and more than 100 images of child exposure.

The detective confirmed that Israel is a former UK resident.

He was previously called James Tracy but changed his surname by deed poll to become Israel.

He had no record of convictions in Ireland but was convicted in the UK of ‘child stealing’ back in 1960.

The child in question was 11 years old at the time.

Defending barrister Eamonn Whitmore stated that his client had worked all over Europe in the past.

Proficient in the German language, he worked as a Berlitz School teacher, spending time in Barcelona and Rome.

He was a man of deep spiritual faith, counsel suggested.

Judge Martin Nolan noted Israel’s belief that the material which landed him before the court was legal.

It would be an understatement to say he was misguided, the court observed: “His views not consistent with the criminal law in this country.”

However, at the age of 91, it would be unjust to send him to prison, prompting the judge to suspend a two year sentence.

An order for destruction of the two computers was granted.

And the offender was warned that his age would not protect him from going to jail if he reoffends.

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