Thursday, April 14, 2022

A MAN who sent a video of himself masturbating to a 12-year-old was given a ten-month prison sentence at Carlow District Court last week. Judge Geraldine Carthy said the facts of the case were “deeply concerning” as she handed down a sentence.

The 25-year-old Limerick man, who cannot be named due to reporting restrictions, pleaded guilty to a charge of using information and communication technology to facilitate the sexual exploitation of a minor and masturbating during the course of a video call with a child on 12 October 2018. The offences occurred in the district court area of Carlow.

The court was told that the injured party had accepted a friend request on Snapchat from the defendant, who then sent an explicit video of himself masturbating and offered the girl €3,000 to do the same. The girl told her mother, who quickly gathered photos of the conversation and reported the matter to gardaí.

The case had been adjourned for a probation report and a victim impact statement. The victim did not wish to make a statement, the court was told.

Defending solicitor Brendan O’Flaherty noted concerns in the report with his client’s alcohol and gambling addiction. Mr O’Flaherty said his client was re-engaging with after-care, having previously undergone residential treatment. The court was told the defendant had “consistent employment” in an undisclosed role and had no previous convictions.

“He has taken significant rehabilitation steps. He is still a young man – 25,” said Mr O’Flaherty. “It’s a serious charge, no doubt about it. But he seems to have done his best to address his underlying issues. He has the support of family and employer.”

Judge Carthy said she had ordered the probation report due to the seriousness of the offence.

“It’s probably at the upper end of the cases that come before the district court. Not only do I have responsibility to the accused but to the injured part and society in general.”

Judge Carthy noted that the maximum sentence she could hand down was two 12-month sentences, totalling 24 months. The judge also noted the plea and the underlying issues.

“The probation report is quite positive. However, I am satisfied to deal with it by custodial sentence due to the seriousness of the matter.”

Judge Carthy said she was “deeply concerned” at the facts outlined by gardaí. Judge Carthy imposed the prison sentence on the sexual exploitation charge and took the other offence into consideration.

Recognisances were fixed for appeal purposes. Bail conditions include that the defendant does not have direct or indirect contact with the injured party and must sign on three times daily at Henry Street Garda Station in Limerick. The defendant must also provide a mobile phone number to gardaí and be contactable at all times.


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