High Court grants extradition of 79-year-old to face FBI allegations of 'producing child pornography for decades'

The High Court has granted the extradition of a 79-year-old man to the United States, where the FBI claims he has been "producing child pornography for decades".

The US-Irish citizen, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, had objected to his extradition to New York, where he is wanted to face trial on charges related to the sexual exploitation and transportation of a minor as well as two counts of possessing child pornography.

The FBI claims that for at least 30 years, he participated in the production and possession and sale of child pornography, which involved himself engaging in sexually explicit conduct with minor children under the age of 18.

It is alleged that he would film, record and or photograph himself and others engaged in sexually explicit conduct with minors as well as minors performing sexually explicit conduct on themselves.

It is alleged that he created the material in the US and abroad, that he “maintained a collection” of the child pornography that he created and that he sold copies of the child pornography that he produced.

Opposing his surrender, the man’s barrister, Kieran Kelly BL, had told the High Court that extradition should be refused due to his client's age and combined medical difficulties.

Listing more than a dozen medical conditions, Mr Kelly said it was unlikely anybody had appeared before the extradition court previously with all of his client’s conditions simultaneously. He added that custody in America would amount to inhumane and degrading treatment on account of his client’s ill health.

Mr Kelly said his client was “concerned about the degree to which he has been pursued in this case”.

He said there had been “plans afoot” to deport him before a provisional arrest warrant was issued and before it was established that he held Irish citizenship.

He said his client wanted to be tried in Ireland for the alleged offences.

Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly today noted that his medical conditions were the main points that he offered as grounds that would render it disproportionate to extradite him.

“The court is satisfied that, given the high public interest in his extradition and the clear ability to manage his complaints in a prison setting, there is no violation of the respondent’s right to respect for his personal life should he be extradited,” she said, rejecting this point of objection.

She also rejected his other points of objection and made an order committing him to prison to await the Minister’s order for his extradition.

Mr Kelly said that it was his intention to file an appeal, and he was told that he had 10 days to lodge it.

The respondent sat through the proceedings with a blanket over his knees, wearing sandals. One of his feet was bandaged and he was pushed in and out of court in a wheelchair.

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