April 2019

Man caught downloading child abuse images when gardai raided home gets suspended sentence

A man who was in the process of downloading child pornography when gardaí raided his home has received a fully suspended sentence.

Mark McNally (27) of Seacourt, Clontarf, in North Dublin, later told gardaí he downloaded child pornography when he was feeling down.

He pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of child pornography at his address on February 25, 2014.

Judge Martin Nolan sentenced him to three year’s imprisonment, but suspended the entirety of the sentence on condition that he keep the peace and be of good behaviour for three years and follow the directions of the Probation Service for two years.

Garda Donal Bolger told Karl Finnegan BL, prosecuting, that gardaí received information regarding the downloading of images at the address and obtained a warrant to search the house on the date in question.

Gda Bolger said that during the search, gardaí found McNally’s laptop on a bed in the process of downloading child pornography. He was not in the room himself at the time.

Gardaí discovered 35 images and 32 videos on the laptop, the majority of which depicted preteen boys and girls engaged in sexual activity with each other.

In interview with gardaí, McNally said he had been downloading and viewing child pornography since he was aged 13. He said he would go back to viewing it “when he was feeling down”.

The court heard that the period of downloading the offending material was between 2010 and 2014 when McNally was aged between 19 and 23. He has no previous convictions and has not come to garda attention since.

Gda Bolger agreed with defence counsel that there was no suggestion McNally had forwarded the material to anyone or that he had copied it onto a disk.

Defence counsel said that his client had received counselling which had helped to overcome actions he now described as “horrible”. McNally works for a multimedia company as a team leader and his partner of two years was present in court.

Judge Nolan said there was “good mitigation in this case” including the guilty plea, the co-operation the remorse and the lack of criminal history. He said McNally had a good work history and described him as “an enterprising man”.