Suspended sentence for music teacher who had child pornography

Five-year delay before child sexual abuse files assessed due to Garda resource issues

1,300 unique image files and 11 unique movie files were found on computers owned by  Peter Jennings (49) for which  he was given a suspended sentence.  Photograph: Collins Courts

1,300 unique image files and 11 unique movie files were found on computers owned by Peter Jennings (49) for which he was given a suspended sentence. Photograph: Collins Courts

 

A music teacher who had hundreds of child pornography images on his computer has received a suspended prison sentence.

Peter Jennings (49) pleaded guilty to possession of the material at an address in Dunsink, Finglas, Dublin on July 30th, 2010.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard on Monday that it took five years before the files found on his computers could be properly assessed because of resource issues in the garda’s computer crime investigations unit.

Garda Sergeant Bridget Buckley told the court that on analysis, gardaí found 1,300 unique image files and 11 unique movie files depicting child pornography.

She said 935 of these depicted child nudity while the remainder depicted “erotic posing of children” or children “engaging in sexual activity”.

She said that a system formerly used by gardaí to rate the seriousness of the images was no longer used because it exposed the analyst to risk and took a lot of time.

Philipp Rahn BL, defending, told the court there was no excuse for his client’s behaviour. He said Jennings had a history of low moods and had taken to smoking cannabis at the time.

He said a report from the Probation Services assessed Jennings as being at a low risk of re-offending. He has not offended since the files were discovered in 2010 and has no previous convictions.

The court heard Jennings was living at the family home in Dunsink at the time, but left the family home after his offending came to light. Mr Rahn said his client’s family was devastated by his offending.

Garda Sergeant Aidan Flanagan said at the time, Jennings worked as a music teacher at Ballyfermot Ceoil, giving after-school group lessons to children aged seven to 12 years old.

The court heard he is a talented musician who has had to give up teaching and playing music gigs.

Judge Martin Nolan suspended a prison sentence of two and a half years on condition that Jennings keep the peace for that period. He also ordered him to engage with the Probation Services.

He said it was a serious offence but noted that Jennings was remorseful and that there was no question of him distributing the material or paying for it.