Court hears content moderator wanted in UK for making indecent images of children

Court hears content moderator wanted in UK for making indecent images of children

File photo of a person using a laptop.

 A 51-year-old man who is wanted in the United Kingdom for making indecent images of children has been brought before a special Saturday sitting of the High Court on foot of an extradition warrant.

Olaf Raetzel, a German national who works in Dublin as a social media content moderator, is wanted in the UK on charges that he sexually exploited children and made alleged child abuse material.

Mr Raetzel, with an address at Temple Gardens, Northwood, Santry, Dublin 9, was arrested by detectives from the garda extradition unit on Friday and was brought before a special sitting of the High Court on Saturday, where he was remanded in custody.

Det Sgt Jim Kirwan, who heads up the garda extradition unit, gave evidence of arrest, charge and caution.

He said he met the man he believed to be Mr Raetzel at his address in Santry on Friday evening and when asked whether knew what the matter was about, Mr Raetzel replied “yes”, the detective said.

Det Sgt Kirwan said Mr Raetzel spoke perfect English and worked for a professional services company which moderates online content for a Dublin-based social media giant.

Counsel for the Minister for Justice, Leo Mulrooney BL, told the court that Mr Raetzel’s surrender was being sought for three counts of making indecent photos of children. The maximum sentence for each offence in the UK is 10 years imprisonment.

Mr Mulrooney said UK authorities had searched Mr Raetzel’s home in 2015 after he was linked to the alleged uploading of indecent images of children onto the internet.

His computer was seized by UK authorities and it was found to contain 21 files allegedly comprised of seven “category A” videos, five “category B” videos and nine “category C” images, Det Sgt Kirwan said.

Mr Raetzel was due to be reinterviewed by UK police in November 2015 but he did not attend and the Crown Prosecution Service have since directed that he be charged, Mr Mulrooney stated.

Sitting for the specially-convened court on Saturday afternoon, Ms Justice Mary Rose Gearty said she was satisfied that the man before her was Olaf Raetzel and that he was the man whose surrender was being sought. She remanded him in custody to September 29 next.

Counsel for Mr Raetzel, Gerard Giblin BL, told Ms Justice Gearty that his client would be seeking bail at a later date and that free legal aid would be sought.

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