A man who raped his own disabled child for the production of child pornography has been jailed for 20 years.
The man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his son, was identified by an international policing operation against child pornography. The operation which began in Australasia identified an Irish user and this resulted in Europol contacting the Garda National Paedophile Investigation Unit here.
Detectives from that unit tracked the man down using an IP address and during a search of his home in March 2015 they discovered 12,427 images of child porn.
These included images depicting graphic sexual assault by adults of children, including infants as young as two weeks old. Over 5,500 of these images related to his son, who was aged six to seven years old during the time the images were produced.
The man pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to two counts of rape and 10 counts of sexual assault of his son on dates between January 2014 and March 2015. He also admitted three counts of sexual exploitation of his son, two counts of production of child pornography and a single count of possession of child pornography.
Sentencing him today, Mr Justice Tony Hunt said this was the most difficult case he has dealt with.
The judge said that the father's breach of trust was magnified because of his son's disability, which had left him unable to speak.
He said the man developed a taste for child porn and decided it was necessary to generate his own using his son. This was then distributed to others for their gratification.
“The indignity lives on in some part of the world when some pervert somewhere looks at the material,” he said.
'He was there'
Philip Sheahan SC, defending, said that his client got involved with this offending because of “some kind of thrill of accessing material that other people couldn’t access rather than the thrill of the material itself”.
Mr Justice Hunt asked if the offending was made easier by the fact that the victim was incapable of speaking.
Counsel replied that when asked why he choose to abuse his son, the man replied: “He was there”.
“He had the misfortune to be present at the wrong time and wrong location,” counsel said.
Mr Justice Hunt said that the mitigating factors for the accused were his early plea of guilty and his remorse, including concern he expressed for his son during garda interview.
He said that these mitigating factors meant that he would not impose an indeterminate life sentence, noting that this meant “overcoming the revulsion one feels...and not without some misgivings”.
He ordered that the man comply with the Probation Services for a post release supervision period of five years and he backdated his sentence to April 2015, when the man went into custody on these offences.
Mr Justice Hunt said that it was unbearably sad that a disabled child should be treated like this. He said it was perhaps fortunate for him that he didn't understand what happened to him.
He said that the plea of guilty was significant as it would be an appalling prospect for any jury to deal with the evidence in this case.