Sentencing and images of child abuse

Sir, – I was seriously disturbed at Judge Martin Nolan handing down a suspended sentence to Alex McMillan, the 28-year-old man of Beech Hill Drive, Donnybrook, Dublin, who was caught with 48 pictures and 340 videos of child pornography (the vast majority of which "fell into the most serious category", meaning the children involved were "viewing or taking part in explicit sexual acts") ("Suspended sentence for Dublin man with child abuse videos", News, November 15th).

Particularly worrying were Judge Nolan’s comments that the distribution had been at the “lower end of seriousness” as they had “not been for general distribution, but to like-minded individuals”.

Is it not the norm for this type of heinous material to be distributed to “like-minded individuals”, and why is that even a mitigating factor in the suspended sentence that was handed down? It is particularly disturbing that, unless the children involved in these pictures and videos have been found and made safe, they are still living out their sentences, while Judge Nolan gives a suspended sentence to someone who “might not offend again”, but was, however, one of the people who, by accessing and distributing this kind of material, helped make the torture of little children possible in the first place.

Surely a custodial sentence of some sort would have given them even a little justice. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 18.