A man the FBI has accused of being the “largest facilitator of child porn in the world,” will apply for a judicial review of the DPP's decision not to prosecute him in Ireland, the High Court heard yesterday.
Eric Eoin Marques, who is alleged to be the owner and administrator of an anonymous hosting site known as Freedom Hosting, is wanted by US authorities to face charges relating to conspiring to distribute and advertise child pornography, and advertising and distributing child pornography.
The 28-year-old, with an address at Mountjoy Square in central Dublin, has been in custody since his arrest in August last year, after he was refused bail over concerns he represented a flight risk and that he may abscond or interfere with evidence in the case.
The charges against Marques relate to images on more than 100 “anonymous websites” described as being extremely violent, graphic and depicting the rape and torture of pre-pubescent children.
Counsel for Mr Marques, Mark Lynam BL, told the High Court today that he did not have a complete set of papers following a change of solicitors by his client, but he understood they had been handed over since the case was mentioned on Tuesday.
He said his client intended to apply for legal aid prior to the judicial review application.
Counsel for the state, Patrick McGrath SC, said he hadn't received a statement of means from Mr Marques but investigations into his assets were being conducted at the moment.
Mr Justice John Edwards said he was concerned that this development could arise.
“This needs to be sorted out within days not weeks,” the judge said.
“What's the problem with averring a statement of means within the next 24 hours,” the judge asked.
If a situation was going to arise that the case can't proceed because he has no legal representation, that needs to be put down. the judge said.
“I want this issue dealt with in the next week.”
Mr Lynam said it was not the case that he was “standing still”, it was his understanding that boxes of bank statements and company accounts going back years had been received by Mr Marques's new solicitors.
The judge said Mr Marques either has funds or he hasn't, “communion money or I don't know”.
He said he was not concerned with whether he was a wealthy man in the past, only with what he has now.
The court heard that Mr Marques would be available for cross examination on any disputes or conflicts which could arise from his statement of means.
Mr Justice Edwards remanded Mr Marques in custody until Tuesday, February 25.
If convicted, he could face the remainder of his life in prison as the four charges could result in a sentence totalling 100 years.