A 43-year-old man has pleaded guilty to the possession of child pornography after he was found with a copy of the first book to be banned here in almost two decades.
A detective garda told Ennis Circuit Court that the first 77 pages of a banned book contained five separate incidents that were sexually explicit in content and depicted sexual acts carried out on a 14 year old girl.
Det Garda Donal Corkery was giving evidence in a case where Clifford Murrihy (43) of Crovroghan, Kildysart, Co Clare admitted possession of ‘The Raped Little Runaway’ by Jean Martin.
The book was the first book to be banned here in nearly two decades by the Censorship of Publications Board (CBB) in March 2016.
At the time, Board chairman, Shane McCarthy said the decision was unanimous among the five board members.
He said: "It was the only resort … The collective view of the board was that it was a vile publication as it contained graphic descriptions of the rape of a minor.”
Mr Murrihy pleaded guilty to knowingly having in his possession the book at his home on November 28th 2015, four months before the book was banned by the censors as a result of the Gardai sending on the book.
In evidence, Det Corkery said that during a course of a Garda search of Mr Murrihy’s home, Gardai found the book on Mr Murrihy’s bedside locker.
He said that photos of the book were taken by the ‘scenes of crime’ Garda at the scene and the book was seized.
Det Corkery said that Gardai were carrying out a search on an unrelated matter at the home and came across the book.
Det Corkery said that he came across the five incidents of graphic content relating to the girl, 'Marissa' and stopped the reading the book after 77 pages.
Counsel for the State, Lorcan Connolly BL said that the book contained numerous accounts of sexually explicit material.
Det Corkery said that Mr Murrihy told him that he never opened the book and said that the book was brought to the house by a person he named but that person could not be identified by Gardai.
Det Corkery said that Mr Murrihy told Gardai that he should have thrown out the book but it slipped his mind.
Det Corkery said that Mr Murrihy is not married, has no children and has no previous convictions.
Counsel for Mr Murrihy, Pat Whyms BL said that the book “is a disgusting book”.
Mr Whyms said that the book was legally published in the US where freedom of speech legislation is very liberal.
However, Mr Whyms said that unlike other child pornography cases coming before the courts “this is a victimless crime, there are no children used in any way in the production of the material”.
He said: “It is not a book that exploits children. It does satisfy the definition of child pornography, but it is very much at the lower end in terms of egregiousness and in terms of its consequences."
Mr Whyms said that there was no question of Mr Murrihy sharing the material.
Mr Whyms said that Mr Murrihy now finds himself on the Sex Offenders register “and that is a very severe punishment for this offence and not something that the court should add to”.
Mr Whyms said that Mr Murrihy has been quite severely punished for something before the circuit court that should never have been before the circuit court in the first place.
Judge Gerald Keys adjourned sentencing to July 12th commenting that there were “an unusual set of circumstances surrounding all of this”.
Judge Keys remanded Mr Murrihy on continuing bail to that date. Mr Connolly said that he would be applying for a destruction order of the book on that date.