Child pornography accused entitled to reapply for bail

Eric Eoin Marques was refused bail in Dublin last month on foot of FBI extradition request

Eric Eoin Marques (28), who is wanted in the US, had been refused bail by the High Court in Dublin last month on foot of an extradition request by the FBI. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Eric Eoin Marques (28), who is wanted in the US, had been refused bail by the High Court in Dublin last month on foot of an extradition request by the FBI. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Thu, Sep 12, 2013, 15:02

A High Court judge ruled this morning that a 28-year-old Irish man alleged by an FBI special agent to be “the largest facilitator of child porn on the planet” is entitled to apply for bail a second time.

Eric Eoin Marques (28), who is wanted in the US, had been refused bail by the High Court in Dublin last month on foot of an extradition request by the FBI.

US authorities want to extradite Mr Marques, who has dual Irish-US citizenship, to face trial on charges for distributing, conspiring to distribute and advertising child pornography.

It was also alleged he aided and abetted a conspiracy to advertise child pornography, and the court had heard that if convicted he faces sentences of up to 30 years in jail.

The charges relate to images on over 100 “anonymous websites” described as being extremely violent, graphic and depicting the rape and torture of pre-pubescent children.

The websites have “thousands of members” who have posted “millions of images” of child pornography. Some of the children involved are infants, the FBI claim.

Remy Farrell SC, for Mr Marques, argued that despite the High Court’s decision last month, the 28-year-old is now entitled to make another bail application.

Mr Marques, who had been arrested on August 1st last, had been refused bail the following day on the grounds he presented a possible flight risk and it was feared he would destroy evidence, particularly computer evidence.

An FBI special agent had described him in the High Court as “the largest facilitator of child porn on the planet”.

Provisional warrant

Mr Farrell said that since then the proceedings have moved on to a new stage and Mr Marques should be allowed to apply for bail again. Counsel argued that when bail was refused, Mr Marques was being held on a provisional warrant and it was not certain there would be a formal request at that stage for his extradition.

He submitted that Mr Marques, with an address at Mountjoy Square, Dublin 1, is now to face a full extradition hearing, marking a new procedural stage, and this meant he was entitled to apply for bail again.

In reply, Patrick McGrath SC, for the Attorney General, opposed the application, which he described as a “waste of the court’s time”, adding that if it was not an abuse of process, it nevertheless “flies in the face of normal procedures”.

Dressed in a grey hooded top, blue jeans and black runners, Mr Marques did not address the court.

This morning, Mr Justice John Edwards held that in the interest of justice, the 28-year-old could make a fresh bail application, which was to be heard today at 3pm.