A brother of the murdered crime journalist Veronica Guerin has received a fully suspended sentence for possession of child pornography.
Martin Guerin (68) of Portmarnock Drive, Portmarnock, Co Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to knowingly possessing 901 images and 146 video files of child pornography at his address on September 17, 2014.
Passing sentence on Wednesday, October 23, Judge Martin Nolan said that the court should consider a non-custodial sentence in cases of this nature in which there were no aggravating factors such as previous convictions. He said there were no aggravating factors in this case.
Judge Nolan said the mitigating factors in the case were Guerin’s guilty plea, his co-operation with gardaí, his immediate admissions, his good work history and his lack of previous convictions.
He said he could accept that Guerin had been shamed by the situation and it had caused marital disharmony. He said Guerin was “a well known man” and was being “publicly shamed”.
He said a psychological report before the court state ed it was unlikely Guerin would offend in this manner again and it “seems unjust” to imprison him.
He sentenced Guerin to two and a half years imprisonment, but suspended the sentence in its entirety on condition he keep the peace and be of good behaviour for two and a half years.
Detective Garda Brian Penton told Garrett McCormack BL, prosecuting, that gardaí received information from Interpol regarding the viewing of child pornography. Gardaí were able to trace it to Guerin’s home via an IP address.
Dt Gda Penton said Guerin was not present at his home on September 17, 2014, when gardaí searched the address and seized certain electronic devices.
That evening, Guerin attended Swords Garda Station where he told gardaí they would discover child pornography on the devices and took responsibility for downloading it.
901 images and 146 videos of child pornography were discovered on a computer and an external hard drive. The majority of the videos showed girls ranging from under the age of 15 and as young as two-years-old engaged in sexual activity.
The images discovered included around 370 images of girls and boys engaged in sexual activity, around 520 images of children with their genitals exposed and two images of cartoon pornography.
Guerin has no previous convictions and has two adult children.
Dt Gda Penton agreed with Philip Rahn BL, defending, that there was no suggestion of distribution, no suggestion of payment for the material and no suggestion of contact with children in this case.
Mr Rahn handed to the court a psychological assessment of Guerin which detailed that he attended individual therapy for 18 months beginning in 2014 and then followed on by attending group therapy which he continues to attend.
He said his client had attained significant insight into his offending and feels shame and remorse.
He said the report recommended he continue attending group therapy for a further 12 months and identified him as being at a low risk of re-offending.
Mr Rahn said his client left the family home and lost his marriage as a result of these matters.
He submitted that this case “falls below the custodial threshold” even without accounting for the delay in proceedings. He said his client had “had this shadow hanging over him” for the last five years.