Sentencing in McMahon child porn case adjourned

The sentencing of a former civil servant who downloaded child pornographic images has been adjourned to allow him apply for Health Service Executive funding for psychotherapy treatment at The Granada Institute.

The sentencing of a former civil servant who downloaded child pornographic images has been adjourned to allow him apply for Health Service Executive funding for psychotherapy treatment at The Granada Institute.

Gerard McMahon (aged 53), a divorced father of six, of The Richmond, off North Brunswick Street, was earlier warned by Judge Yvonne Murphy at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that she will impose a custodial sentence unless he begins psychotherapy at the Institute as previously intimated.

The images he downloaded had been described as "amongst the worst that have ever come before the courts".

Judge Murphy had been told by defence counsel, Mr Martin Dully BL, that his client had not been attending at the Institute as previously ordered because he had "a very large number of difficulties" that he had been trying to deal with and did not feel he was capable of undergoing such treatment.

Mr Dully said his client had been attending a consultant psychiatrist and was now in a position to attend for group psychotherapy sessions at the institute but he would need to be treated for 18 months to two years at a cost of €90 per week.

Mr Dully said although McMahon was willing to undergo the session he couldn’t afford it due to "serious financial difficulties".

Judge Murphy agreed to adjourn the case to next March to see if there is any likelihood to McMahon securing the HSE funding.

McMahon has pleaded guilty to five counts of possession of child pornography on dates in March 2002.

Detective Sergeant James Madden told Ms Martina Baxter BL, prosecuting, that the images were of "a graphic and horrific nature and fall into the very serious end of the child pornography scale".

Gardaí from Harcourt Square Garda Station seized two computers, cables and a keyboard from McMahon’s apartment on September 29, 2002.

McMahon admitted using his credit card to access images and movie files, depicting babies and children up to 13 or 14 years of age, but did not save, print or exchange these images.

Det Sgt Madden said the images clearly depicted young children and young teenagers who could be mistaken for adults posing in sexual positions and performing sexual acts on other children and adults. He said that every time he viewed the images, he found them "very hard to look at and very hard to take".

McMahon admitted he knew the nature of these images when he accessed them but added that it was his intention to delete them after they were viewed.

Det Sgt Madden did not accept a suggestion by Mr Dully that McMahon showed "self-disgust" for his participation in these offences. "I saw no evidence of that whatsoever", said Madden.

He accepted Mr Dully’s submission that McMahon had not created any files to retain these images but had mostly accessed and deleted them after he viewed them. The only exception were six "very graphic images" which he saved into a password protected zip file.

Det Sgt Madden agreed with Mr Dully that McMahon was a very lonely and isolated individual who had a lengthy history of social phobia, anxiety and depression.

Mr Dully submitted that the quantity of the material found was not significant and said it demonstrated that McMahon was able to use some form of control over his habit.

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