Facebook reports two Cork men for alleged sharing of child sexual abuse images

Both men have been released on bail
Facebook reports two Cork men for alleged sharing of child sexual abuse images

Facebook contacted the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children who in turn notified gardaí in Cork about the alleged sending of a file containing an image of sexual abuse of a child to another person. File photo

Facebook notified the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children about alleged sharing of child pornography by two young Cork men, a court has heard.

Detective Garda Craig Peterson said the centre then notified the Garda Protective Services unit at Anglesea Street Garda Station in Cork. This resulted in two young men being arrested for the purpose of being charged and brought before Cork District Court.

21-year-old Aran Flanagan of Tuairin Glas, Ballincollig, County Cork, and 21-year-old Aidan Higgins of Clashduv Road, Togher, Cork, appeared before Cork District Court.

Detective Garda Peterson said there was no garda objection to the accused being remanded on bail when the case was adjourned and he said both accused had been totally co-operative with gardaí.

The Director of Public Prosecutions directed that both men could have the cases against them dealt with summarily at Cork District Court, rather than by indictment at the circuit court, on a guilty plea only.

Judge Olann Kelleher required a summary of the allegations in the case so that he could decide on whether he too would accept jurisdiction on a plea of guilty. The judge said he would accept jurisdiction. 

Det. Garda Peterson said Facebook contacted the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children who in turn notified gardaí about the alleged sending of a file containing an image of sexual abuse of a child to another person. Warrants were obtained to search the defendants’ homes, and phones containing images or videos of child pornography were allegedly found.

Defence solicitor, Pat Horan, represented both accused men. Judge Kelleher adjourned the cases against Aran Flanagan and Aidan Higgins until September 27.

On that date it will be an opportunity for the accused to indicate if they are pleading guilty or not guilty. If they are denying the charges, books of evidence will then have to be prepared.

Bail conditions require them to sign on once a week at their local garda station, surrender their passports, reside at home and notify gardaí of any change of address.

Both men are charged with the knowing distribution or showing of child pornography on July 27, 2020. 

Higgins’s second charge stated that he had 310 picture or video files of child pornography. Flanagan’s second charge refers to the alleged possession of 2,456 video files of child pornography.

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