Father of five was sent child pornography videos in WhatsApp group, court told

Man was sentenced to 18 months, to ‘begin today’ judge says

Michael McDonald Agu of Avondale Park, Mulhuddart, Dublin 15, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two charges of knowingly possessing child pornography on October 31st, 2018. Photograph:  Matt Kavanagh

Michael McDonald Agu of Avondale Park, Mulhuddart, Dublin 15, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two charges of knowingly possessing child pornography on October 31st, 2018. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

 

A father of five who was sent two videos of child pornography in a WhatsApp group has been jailed for 18 months.

Michael McDonald Agu (57) was being questioned in relation to a seizure of drugs at his home in October 2018, when garda­ confiscated his phone for technical examination.

A two-minute video clip depicting a juvenile male raping an infant male, which had been sent to McDonald Agu via a WhatsApp group he was in, was discovered.

Det Garda Alan Barry said McDonald Agu was charged with the offence of possession of child pornography but his defence team sought a hearing before the courts to challenge the case.

In preparation for this hearing the phone was re-examined and as the techniques for examining phones had developed, officers were able to examine it in more depth and discovered a second video.

Det Gda Barry confirmed that this clip, which was six minutes long, showed “a woman interacting with three juvenile males”.

McDonald Agu withdrew his application to challenge the evidence and pleaded guilty to the offence.

McDonald Agu of Avondale Park, Mulhuddart, Dublin 15, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two charges of knowingly possessing child pornography on October 31st, 2018.

He was later jailed for four years for the drugs he was caught with during that garda search and is due for release in September 2021.

Before sentencing, Judge Martin Nolan confirmed that there was no evidence that McDonald Agu requested such videos and asked what a person could do “to rid yourself” of an unwanted video.

Defence counsel Seamus Clarke SC, confirmed that the only thing a person could do would be “to get rid of the phone”.

Mr Clarke said on the State’s case “all they can say is that the video was opened and stored in the library on his phone” but added that there was “no way of working out if someone closes it after two, three seconds or watches it to the bitter end”.

He acknowledged that McDonald Agu allowed himself to continue to be part of a forum after such a video was received, when he could have removed himself from the group.

Counsel also submitted that the videos were not easily accessed on the phone and that it had been technically examined to retrieve the files.

Judge Nolan said the videos were “undoubtedly child pornography” but said how McDonald Agu came to be in possession of them was “unusual”.

“These videos were sent to him and I must infer that he opened them but to what extent he watched them cannot be determined,” the judge said.

He acknowledged that McDonald Agu accepted responsibility by pleading guilty to the offence before he said he was “not going to extend his stay in prison”.

Judge Nolan said McDonald Agu’s sentence of 18 months in prison was to begin today rather than be served consecutively to the four-year term he is currently serving.

Mr Clarke said his client was a married man with five daughters and a 10-year old granddaughter.

He said McDonald Agu has a number of medical conditions including diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome and hypertension.