A man who was caught in possession of over 4,000 child abuse images has received a fully suspended sentence.
Padraig Shortt (42) of Glendown Drive, Templeogue, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of child pornography at his address on March 17th, 2016. He has no previous convictions.
Passing sentence on Tuesday, Judge Pauline Codd said the courts have reiterated that these are real children who are being abused in these images.
Judge Codd said these types of offences are “particularly vile” as they involve the exploitation of children for profit by others. She said they are “shameful activities” and light needs to be shone on them.
The judge said Shortt has suffered from memory disturbance and has led an isolated social life since sustaining injuries in a road traffic collision. She noted that he has commenced psychotherapy and has been described as “psychologically vulnerable”.
She said he has some awareness as to the victims and has expressed genuine remorse in that regard.
Judge Codd sentenced Shortt to three years imprisonment, but suspended the sentence in its entirety on strict conditions including that he follow all directions of the Probation Service for two years.
Detective Garda John Walsh told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that gardaí received information from an international source that an image had been uploaded to an email which was linked to the accused man’s address.
Det Gda Walsh said on the date in question, gardaí conducted a search of the address where Shortt lives with his parents. A number of items were seized including computers, phones and hard drives.
During the search, Shortt admitted to gardaí that he had accessed sexually explicit material of children. He also told gardaí he was the sole person who has access to the main computer in the house and his parents did not have any access to this computer.
A total of 4,072 images and 200 videos were found across various devices belonging to Shortt. Twenty-two of the videos depicted children being sexually abused, while the remaining 178 depicted children with their genitals exposed.
In interview with gardaí, Shortt told gardaí he had thought he was deleting images when he inadvertently emailed the material. He denied ever knowingly distributing child pornography.
Det Gda Walsh agreed with James Dwyer SC, defending, that his client entered an early plea of guilty and this was useful to the prosecution.
Mr Dwyer said his client was hospitalised for over a year following a traffic collision in 2008. He said his client sustained significant injuries that resulted in a loss of mobility and affected his memory.
Counsel said his client has expressed remorse and had asked him to reiterate this remorse in court. He said his client has been assessed as being at a low risk of reoffending.