Over 80,000 images of child pornography were found at the home of a Rochestown man who claimed to he had these and other images because of his interest in naturism but he was jailed for 18 months yesterday.
Cynan Rees, of The Residence, Old Belmont, Rochestown, Cork, was sentence yesterday at Cork Circuit Criminal Court where Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin described the crimes as reprehensible.
The 55-year-old pleaded guilty to all three counts which related to different external hard drives.
He admitted knowingly having in his possession child pornography at his home in Rochestown on May 1, 2014, in respect of each of the three hard drives.
The computer expert said he knew nothing about child pornography but told gardaí that he was into naturism.
Det Gda Sean Minihan testified that officers searched Rees’s home under warrant after receiving information from German police through Interpol. Rees initially denied any knowledge of child pornography and said that he was into naturism but he later admitted possessing the images after garda experts examined the three hard drives.
Det Gda Minihan said gardaí had found 2,280 images and 483 videos classified as Category 1 material, depicting children under the age of 17 engaging in sexual acts with either adults or other children. They had also found a further 78,666 images and 368 video clips classified as Category 2, depicting children under the age of 17 exposing their genitalia on the three hard drives.
Ray Boland, defending, asked for leniency for Rees and stressed that while Rees had pleaded guilty to possessing a large number of images, he had not engaged in distributing the material. He also said that by pleading guilty, Rees had saved the State the cost of what could have been a difficult trial.
Rees had no previous convictions and had never come to Garda attention prior to this offence coming to light and he had not come to any adverse Garda attention since then.
Judge Ó Donnabháin said: “This is an exceptionally serious case given both the number of images and the fact that there are over 2,200 images and more worryingly, videos of children engaging in sexual activity with adults. These are category 1 images, the most reprehensible type of images while he also had another 78,000 criminal images of the category 2 type where children were photographed exposing their genitalia.”
Judge O Donnabhain said he believed that Rees, even if he had gone for a rehabilitation course prior to coming to court, would still have merited a custodial sentence because of the seriousness of his crime.
“His approach to rehabilitation is somewhat belated but notwithstanding that, he will get credit for and will get a sentence which provides him with an incentive to engage in rehabilitation upon his release.”
Judge Ó Donnabháin acknowledged Rees had not engaged in sharing or distributing the images and he had no previous convictions while he had also pleaded guilty at an early stage, which were to his credit.
He sentenced him to three years in jail but suspended the final 18 months on condition that he engage with forensic psychological services as soon as is practicable upon his release from custody and to remain under the supervision of the Probation Service for a period of three years post-release.