herald

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Soldier in the clear on child porn charges

AN army sergeant who was found with child pornography images "buried" in the memory of his computer has been acquitted by direction of a judge.

Robert Cole (41) told gardai he had accessed child porn after clicking on weblinks while viewing "normal" pornography online. He said that at one stage he printed off some of the material but then destroyed it.

Most of the 371 images and videos found on his PC dated back to March 2004.

They were retrieved by specialist forensic software licensed to gardai.

The files were found in three places -- the computer's recycle bin, a temporary internet folder which automatically generates copies of images viewed online, and recovered memory after they had being permanently deleted.

In the absence of the jury, Judge Patrick McCartan ruled that Mr Cole could not be found guilty because there was no evidence that, at the time of the offence he had access, control or knowledge of the material.

Mr Cole, of Sutton Park, Sutton, Dublin, had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to knowingly having possession of images and movies of child porn at his home on November 08, 2007.

In directing the jury, Judge McCartan said the pornographic material was "buried" on the hard drive of the PC where the accused would not have access to it without specialist software.

He said there was no doubt that in 2004 the defendant had accessed the material and had it in his possession but that at some stage he had deleted it.

hnews@herald.ie

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