A former civil servant caught with over 7,000 images and 21 videos of child pornography has avoided jail.
Staff at the then Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism discovered attempts to download inappropriate material on Patrick Corcoran’s (53) computer during a software upgrade at the Kildare Street offices in December 2009.
Members of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI) seized a laptop and computer at Corcoran’s desk and later found 5,951 pornographic images of children between eight and 14 years old during a search of his former North Circular Road home.
Judge Martin Nolan handed down a three-and-a-half year suspended sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, but warned Corcoran that he would go to jail if caught with any more illegal pornographic material.
“You are getting a chance, but if you re-offend, no mercy will be shown,” said Judge Nolan.
Detective Garda Maria Clohessy revealed that gardaí were not in a position to arrest Corcoran until February 2012. By then he had collected a further 1,100 child pornography images and 21 videos at his current home at Longford House, Spencer Dock.
Corcoran pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography on a work PC and laptop under his desk at what is now the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht on December 21, 2009.
He also pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography images in 87 A4 brown envelopes at his former home the same day.
He further pleaded guilty to possessing a further 1,100 images and 21 videos on a laptop and hard drive on February 7, 2012.
Corcoran co-operated fully with gardaí and helped them locate items during both searches. He said during interview that he suffered from depression and had accessed inappropriate material from links on legal pornography internet sites.
Detective Garda Clohessy agreed with Philipp Rahn BL, defending, that his client said he’d contacted the Granada Institute for sex offenders for treatment following the first seizure.
She agreed she was aware Corcoran has been in other psychological treatment since 2012 after the Granada Institute closed down. He recently got a HSE letter confirming it had no further concerns about him.
She agreed there was no suggestion of sharing, distributing or commercial gain in this case, nor any direct contact with children.
Mr Rahn submitted to Judge Nolan that his client has since completed 192 hours of group therapy to address his offending behaviour. He complies with the Sex Offenders Act and has expressed genuine remorse for his actions.
Judge Nolan said child pornography encourages the abuse of minors and children and is a serious offence.
He said Corcoran has suffered to some degree in that he had lost his job with the Department of Heritage, Tourism and the Arts.
“For good reason, he was sacked,” he said.
The judge noted that Corcoran had taken steps to deal with his problems and said there was a “good prospect” that he would not re-offend.
He ordered Corcoran to be of good behaviour for three and a half years and place himself under the supervision of the Probation Service for 18 months.