January 2019

Man pleads guilty to possessing child sexual abuse images

A  Clonakilty man was today sentenced to 33 days in prison for the possession of four child sexual abuse images found on his mobile phone, but was free to go when the judge suspended 30 days of the sentence, and pointed out that the man had already served three days in jail.

Martin Hayes (37) of no fixed abode had pleaded guilty to the charge at Clonakilty District Court earlier this week.

In the earlier case, he had given his address at Woodlands in Clonakilty but his solicitor said today (Friday) that he had moved out of there and was now, effectively, homeless.

Judge James McNulty, sitting at Bandon District Court today, sentenced Martin Hayes to 33 days in prison with 30 days of that to be suspended. As he had already served three days in prison, he was free to go after the hearing.

Judge McNulty said the balance of the sentence (30 days) will hang over Mr Hayes for two years and he is to be under the supervision of the probation services for one full year.

Judge McNulty said the court also wants the probation services to support Mr Hayes in rehabilitating himself and re-intergrating himself into his native place.

‘If the probation services can assist him to secure accommodation, that would be helpful,’ said Judge McNulty.

At a sitting of the case earlier this week, rumours of a ‘paedophile ring’ in Clonakilty were denied by a garda. Defence solicitor Plunkett Taaffe said that from the time of the initial search at his client’s home there had been rumours in Clonakilty that Martin Hayes was involved in ‘some sort of paedophile ring.’

Det Gda Nolan said he was aware of the rumours and that there is no basis connecting Mr Hayes to any ring and that they are ‘unfortunate rumours’. 

Judge James McNulty said that society ‘has to think a little faster and deeper’ about the deterrent against such offences. He added that if people decide to cross over into ‘the dark stuff’ they will be in deep trouble.

Hayes pleaded guilty to the charge of having in his possession four images –  three images depicting a female under the age of 17 engaged in sex with an adult, and one image of a female under the age of 17 having her privates exposed for viewing.

He will now be placed on the sex offenders’ register.