US authorities are seeking the extradition of Eric Eoin Marques, aged 30, of Mountjoy Square, Dublin, who is alleged to be the owner and administrator of an anonymous hosting site known as ‘Freedom Hosting’, to face charges relating to conspiring to distribute and advertise child pornography and advertising and distributing child pornography.
Micheál P O’Higgins, for Mr Marques, yesterday told the court the principal facts of the case included the proposed extradition of his client who could be prosecuted in Ireland.
He said his client had offered to plead guilty and a means by which he could be prosecuted.
Counsel said his client had lived in Ireland since he was six, and that his parents and sister remain here.
Mr O’Higgins said Dublin was the place of the commission of the alleged offences and the authority which arrested him was An Garda Síochána, who would be able to give evidence in the case. He said a computer was seized in Mountjoy Square.
Mr O’Higgins submitted that on the facts there would be no question that it would be in the public interest to prosecute his client here.
Counsel submitted the evidence here would have to go to the US if he were to be surrendered and all of these factors are in favour of him being prosecuted here.
Mr O’Higgins said there was “a point blank refusal” by the DPP to giving a particular reason not to prosecute his client. He also said there was evidence that the organisational hub of the operation was Dublin.
Mr O’Higgins said if a person walked into a Garda station and confessed, it would be automatic that the DPP would seriously consider bringing charges.
“They must set out why they’re discounting that factor which points strongly in favour of domestic prosecution,’ said Mr O’Higgins.
Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly said a confession is different to an offer to plead guilty and she would need clarification on what he is alleged to have done in this jurisdiction.
The case continues.