CCA halves sentence of man jailed for having child porn images

The Court of Criminal Appeal has halved the three-year jail sentence imposed on a computer programmer who downloaded almost 16,000 child pornography images depicting children as young as four.

The three judge court reduced the sentence after holding that a detailed medical report that indicated that a head injury sustained by Gary Smith (aged 45) in a road traffic accident which had contributed to his deviant behaviour, was not fully taken into account when the three-year prison sentence was imposed.

Last March at Sligo Circuit Court UK-born Smith of Ashbrook, Pearse Road, Sligo, was jailed for three years after pleaded guilty to one count of possessing child pornography at his home on January 11, 2007.

The sentence was imposed by Judge Anthony Kennedy who also ordered that Smith be placed on the sex offenders' register for five years, and receive two years' post-release supervision for two years.

Smith appealed against the severity of that sentence. The DPP had opposed the appeal, and argued that the sentence should remain intact.

Today the three-judge CCA of Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns presiding sitting with Mr Justice Declan Budd and Mr Justice George Birmingham reduced the sentence to one of 18 months in prison, and suspended the final 18 months. The remainder of the original sentence was left undisturbed.

Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns said that while Judge Kennedy was correct in imposing a custodial sentence for what "a very serious offence" involving a large amount of material that included "graphic images" it was the court's opinion that the three-year term was excessive.


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