A man who had thousands of images and videos of child abuse, some of which showed children being tortured, will be sentenced in October.
Marcin Wojciechowicz, aged 34, was caught after a co-worker gave him a lift home and he left a USB memory key containing some of the material in the man’s van.
Gardaí were alerted and during the course of the investigation found over 16,000 images and 300 videos classified as child pornography on his USB stick, mobile phone and laptop.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard 700 of the images on the laptop were at the highest level possible depicting sadism and cruelty to young children, including toddlers and infants. There were images of children bound and gagged or hung upside down while they were beaten or burned.
There were also images of children being “water boarded” and vaginally and anally raped.
Wojciechowicz told gardaí after his arrest that he was trying to catch paedophiles and must have downloaded the images by accident.
Wojciechowicz, with a former address at a hostel on Gardiner Street, Dublin, has been in custody since his arrest. He pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography on a mobile phone on June 2, 2015.
Judge Melanie Greally adjourned the case to October 5 next to allow her consider the case and give gardaí time to ascertain over what time period the images had been collected.
Defence counsel Padraig Dwyer SC said Wojciechowicz accepted responsibility but still maintained he had a long-term plan to hand it over to the authorities. He was prepared to leave the country as part of any period of suspended sentence.
He said Wojciechowicz had been diagnosed with schizophrenia in the past and with the proper psychiatric care may not repeat his offences.
Mr Dwyer said there was no evidence Wojciechowicz had the material for commercial or distribution purposes. He has no previous convictions.
Counsel said it was disturbing to hear evidence of the more revolting images but he asked the court to take into account that a lot of the material was categorised in the lower categories of the scale.
He said the case would have been very disturbing for a jury and court personnel if it had gone to trial. He said the guilty plea had saved not only time and expense but also spared viewing material of a very disturbing nature.
Prior to the case commencing, prosecutor Elva Duffy BL warned those in court that the evidence would be sensitive and distressing.
Garda Brian Cleary told Ms Duffy that a co-worker of Wojciechowicz had found a USB memory key in the back of his van after giving him a lift home. His wife, who came upon the USB stick in the house, viewed an image on it and the couple immediately brought it to gardaí.
A CV belonging to Wojciechowicz was also found on the stick and he was arrested. A number of searches were carried out and his mobile phone and laptop recovered and analysed.
Wojciechowicz initially denied having downloaded the images and at one stage said the material had been planted by gardaí. He later accepted he had looked at the images and said he had been trying to catch paedophiles and must have downloaded the images by accident.
He said he had better skills than the police and was some form of investigator trying to catch child abusers.
Gda Cleary said Wojciechowicz has been in Ireland for 18 months.
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