Man with 80,000 child pornography images jailed for 18 months

Cynan Rees initially denied knowledge and said he was into naturism

Cynan Rees pleaded guilty earlier this month to three counts of possessing child pornography at his home on May 1st, 2014.  Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Cork Courts

Cynan Rees pleaded guilty earlier this month to three counts of possessing child pornography at his home on May 1st, 2014. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Cork Courts

 

An IT expert who denied knowing anything about child pornography but told gardaí he was into naturism has been jailed for 18 months for possessing more than 80,000 child porn images.

Cynan Rees (55) with an address at The Reesidence, Old Belmont, Rochestown, Cork had pleaded guilty earlier this month to three counts of possessing child pornography at his home on May 1st, 2014.

At Cork Circuit Criminal Court on Wednesday, Det Garda Sean Minihan told how gardaí had searched Rees’s home under warrant following receipt of information from German police through Interpol.

They had seized 104 separate pieces of equipment but focused their examination on three hard drives, on which they found some 80,000 child pornographic images.

Rees initially denied any knowledge of child porn and said that he was into naturism but he later admitted possessing the images after garda cyber experts had examined the three hard drives.

Det Garda Minihan said gardaí had found 2,280 images and 483 videos classified as Category 1 material, depicting children under the age of 17 engaging in sexual acts with either adults or other children.

They had also found a further 78,666 images and 368 video clips classified as Category 2, depicting children under the age of 17 exposing their genitalia on the three hard drives, he told the court.

Defence barrister Ray Boland BL asked for leniency for his client, arguing that while he did not want to understate the seriousness of the crime, the vast majority of the images were Category 2 material.

He also pointed out that while Rees had pleaded guilty to possessing a large number of images, he had not engaged in distributing child porn which the courts viewed as a more serious offence.

And he pointed out that by pleading guilty, Rees had saved the State the cost of what could have been a difficult trial given that although he lived alone in the family home, others had access to the property.

He also pointed out that Rees had no previous convictions and had never come to garda attention prior to this offence coming to light, and he had not come to any adverse garda attention since then.

Mr Boland had earlier asked to have sentencing adjourned to allow Rees be assessed by Forensic Psychological Services Ireland who estimated that it would take 12 weeks to prepare a report on Rees.

Judge O Donnabhain refused but said he would structure a sentence to ensure there was an incentive for Rees to engage in rehabilitation upon his release to ensure there was no relapse.

“This is an exceptionally serious case given both the number of images and the fact that there are over 2,200 images and more worryingly, videos of children engaging in sexual activity with adults,” he said.

“These are Category 1 images, the most reprehensible type of images while he also had another 78,000 criminal images of the Category 2 type where children were photographed exposing their genitalia.”

Judge O Donnabhain said he believed that Rees, even if he had gone for a rehabilitation course prior to coming to court, would still have merited a custodial sentence such was the seriousness of his crime.

“His approach to rehabilitation is somewhat belated but notwithstanding that, he will get credit for and will get a sentence which provides him with an incentive to engage in rehabilitation upon his release.”

Judge O Donnabhain acknowledged Rees had not engaged in sharing or distributing the images and had no previous convictions. Also to his credit was that he had pleaded guilty at an early stage.

Judge O Donnabhain sentenced Rees to three years in jail but suspended the final 18 months on condition that he engage with Forensic Psychological Services as soon as is practicable upon his release from custody.

He also ordered Rees remain under the supervision of the Probation Service for a period of three years upon his release and be of good behaviour and he also made an order for the destruction of the images.