By Declan Brennan
A father of seven caught with over 300 sexually explicit images of children will be sentenced later this year.
In June 2020 gardaí went to the Dublin home of Patrick O’Brien (69) after receiving information from the garda online child exploitation unit about the downloading of child pornography on a digital device linked to his address.
O’Brien’s wife opened the door and gardaí asked her and her two adult children to assemble in one room and for her to contact O’Brien, who was not in the house.
When O’Brien returned he told gardaí there was “no point in covering up, it’s me”. He admitted that he had downloaded the illegal images on his mobile phone and handed the phone over.
An analysis of the phone later found around 200 images of children posing in a sexually explicit manner and 55 images of naked children.
Another 75 images showed children as young as three years old being sexually abused by adults. The images were described in graphic detail during the sentence hearing.
O’Brien of Oakwood Grove, Clondalkin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of images depicting children engaged in explicit sexual activity, contrary to the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act, 1998, on June 6 2020.
Detective Garda Gemma Casserly told the court that during his interview O’Brien admitted that he had downloaded “child abuse images” from the internet.
O’Brien said that he had started looking at the material a few months earlier and had never shared it with anyone else. His lawyers handed in a letter from his wife who said that this behaviour was completely out of character for him.
The court heard that he began counselling after the offending came to light.
Judge Melanie Greally adjourned sentence to allow for an assessment by the Probation Service. She remanded O’Brien on continuing bail to May 16 next.
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