Bail Refused, good Decision, Hunt, Garda, that name Rings Bells, and Bells?

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Man (48) ‘posed as teen to sexually exploit kids online’, court told

Dublin District Court heard one of the alleged victims was his own partner’s daughter. Photo: Stock image
Dublin District Court heard one of the alleged victims was his own partner’s daughter. Photo: Stock image

23rd July 2022

A 48-year-old man posed as a teenager online to “groom” children for sexual exploitation in Ireland and abroad, it has been alleged.

Gardaí said the man was linked to 14 social media accounts where he allegedly tricked children into having sexual conversations with him and sent them child abuse images.

More than 1,000 child pornographic picturesimages of child abuse were found on his phone when it was seized at his Dublin home, a court heard.

Refusing him bail, Judge Bryan Smyth said he believed the accused represented a “danger to the general community” if released. He remanded him in custody for the preparation of a book of evidence.

The man is accused of two counts of possession and three of distribution of child pornography, one count of child sexual exploitation and three counts of using information and communication technology to facilitate sexual exploitation of a child.

Dublin District Court heard one of the alleged victims was his own partner’s daughter.

Objecting to bail, Garda Sergeant Bryan Hunt said the phone was seized on May 26 and contained 1,021 images of Category 1 child pornography, depicting children from infants to teenagers engaged in sexual acts.

As the inquiry progressed, the man was linked to 13 Snapchat and one Facebook account that the prosecution said were used for child sexual exploitation.

It was alleged he posed as a child to have sexual conversations with children inside and outside Ireland.

In one case, it was alleged he pretended to be a 15-year-old girl while talking to an 11-year-old girl, Sgt Hunt said.

According to gardaí, the man was grooming children, sending them child abuse material.

He also allegedly sent adult pornography to a 13-year-old on Facebook messenger.

As the investigation continued, it became “progressively more serious” and concerns arose over “live, in-person child exploitation”. Sgt Hunt said gardaí believed the accused was a “clear and present danger” to children and would attempt to evade justice if bailed.

Applying for bail, defence solicitor Stephen O’Mahony said the accused had known about the investigation since May but stayed in Ireland and voluntarily went to a garda station be interviewed.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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