Man allegedly found with 250,000 images of women and children

Bail granted to accused whose photographs in public places were taken without consent

Gardaí objected to bail due to the seriousness of the charges. File photograph: The Irish Times

Gardaí objected to bail due to the seriousness of the charges. File photograph: The Irish Times

 

A man allegedly found with 250,000 photographs of women and children taken in public places without their consent has been granted bail.

Paul Boyle (43) of Sandyford View, Blackglen Road, Dublin 18, was initially arrested after a garda allegedly spotted him attempting to take a “personal” photograph of a young woman on the Luas in Dublin.

A subsequent investigation and search of his devices revealed about a quarter of a million photographs which appeared to have been taken in workplaces and on public transport without the knowledge of the subjects, the court heard.

Mr Boyle, a Scottish national living in Dublin, has also been charged with two counts of possession of “child pornography”, Dublin District Court heard, including in the form of a text file.

He was granted bail by Judge Bryan Smyth over the objections of gardaí from the National Protective Service Bureau (NPSB).

Det Garda Colm Grogan told the court on Friday morning that on September 16th, 2019, a garda from the NPSB observed Mr Boyle attempting to take a photograph “of a personal nature” of a woman on the Luas at Harcourt Street.

The accused was arrested but not charged. Subsequent analysis of his electronic devices revealed the 250,000 photographs and child abuse material, said Det Garda Grogan.

The court heard there are 12 identifiable injured parties while some of the other charges are of an “opportunist” nature.

In January last year, gardaí went to the home of Mr Boyle but the defendant escaped by jumping over a balcony, said Det Garda Grogan. Gardaí decided not to give chase “for the safety of everyone involved”.

Mr Boyle later handed himself in at a Garda station. He was arrested on Thursday for the purposes of charge and taken to Bridewell Garda station. On arrest he asked gardaí, “can we not do this tomorrow?”

Strict conditions

At 6pm he was charged with two counts of possession of child pornography, 12 counts of harassment and nine counts of engaging in sexual conduct of an offensive nature. He made no reply when charged.

Gardaí objected to bail on the basis of the seriousness of the charges and given that Mr Boyle is a Scottish national who moved here in 2018.

Brian Coveney, for the defence, said the garda’s concerns about bail could be overcome through the imposition of strict conditions. He said trial dates are being given in the Circuit Court for early 2023, meaning his client could face two years in custody if not granted bail.

Mr Coveney said his client has never taken a bench warrant and is employed.

The judge agreed to grant bail on several conditions including that Mr Boyle not take photographs of children or members of the public, that he stay away from Harcourt Street and that he not contact the 12 people named in the charges.

He must also surrender his passport, remain contactable by gardaí and sign on at a Garda station three times weekly. He must also pay a €1,000 surety.

The judge remanded him in custody with consent to bail and adjourned the case to Cloverhill District Court next Thursday.