Extradition case against alleged largest facilitator of child porn in the world adjourned

The case of an Irishman, who is wanted in the US, and is alleged to be “the largest facilitator of child porn in the world” has been adjourned to allow for him to go to the Court of Appeal.

Extradition case against alleged largest facilitator of child porn in the world adjourned

The case of an Irishman, who is wanted in the US, and is alleged to be “the largest facilitator of child porn in the world” has been adjourned to allow for him to go to the Court of Appeal.

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 as well as 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.

Today lawyers for Mr Marques told the High Court that his case is listed before the Court of Appeal on December 17 next and that matter had to be resolved.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt said he would remand Mr Marques on the same terms until January 13 next. Last year the extradition court heard the DPP had decided not to bring proceedings against Mr Marques with respect to the alleged offences.

The court heard that a detailed letter had been submitted to the DPP in which it was indicated that Mr Marques would enter a plea of guilty were the alleged offences to be prosecuted in this jurisdiction.

Mr Marques had sought judicial review of the DPP’s decision, but in September High Court judge Mr Justice John Edwards refused Mr Marques leave to challenge the decision not to prosecute him.

The judge said Mr Marques would also not be granted leave to seek judicial review of the refusal of the DPP to give her reasons for not prosecuting him.

Last month the Supreme Court heard that, after a recent ruling in the case of Ali Charaf Damache, the State accepted Mr Marques should also be granted leave for judicial review.

Mr Damache is wanted in the US on terrorism charges and the Supreme Court had ruled he is entitled to judicial review related to the DPP’s refusal to prosecute him here.

The charges against Mr Marques relate to images on over a hundred "anonymous websites" described as being extremely violent, graphic and depicting the rape and torture of pre-pubescent children.

The websites in question have "thousands of members" who have posted "millions of images" of child pornography. Some the children involved are infants, the FBI claim.

The extradition court previously heard from FBI Special Agent Brooke Donahue, who described Mr Marques as “the largest facilitator of child porn in the world”.

The High Court also previously heard it was alleged that an examination of Mr Marques’ home computer by gardaí showed that as well as hosting and facilitating the child pornography websites, he was also visiting the sites, had direct knowledge of what he was hosting and had administrator access to one site.

It was alleged that Mr Marques was attempting to gain access to foreign website hosting companies using a fraudulent image of a United States passport.

The court heard that Marques had “substantial financial resources” – with $1.5m (€1.21m) passing through one bank account - and had searched the internet about whistleblower Edward Snowden and about obtaining a Russian Visa.

There was evidence that Freedom Hosting operated off a server space, which was allegedly paid for by an account in Eric Marques’ name from a US bank account, and the billing address was through a private mailbox facility in Las Vegas assigned to Eric Marques.

The court heard that if convicted Mr Marques faces spending the remainder of his natural life in prison as the four charges could result in a sentence totalling 100 years.

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