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Paedophile had 25 'cartoons' of child porn on PC

A CONVICTED child abuser downloaded computer-generated child porn because he wanted to get sexual gratification without involving children, a court has heard.

Traces of 25 computer-generated images showing children involved in sexually explicit activity were found on computer hard drives belonging to John O'Neill (54).

The court heard that O'Neill of Moyne Road, Ranelagh, Dublin had downloaded the images for free after using search terms "porn toons" and "3D Incest".

Toddlers

Detective Garda Mark O'Neill told Una Ni Raifeartaigh, prosecuting, said that the images did not depict real children but they were very graphic and clearly made to look like children. The images showed graphic depictions of sexual activity with very graphic speech bubbles.

When confronted with the images, O'Neill said he viewed them out of boredom and found them sexually gratifying.

He said viewing the thumbnail images of children as young as toddlers was like using a TV remote control.

He also said he didn't think there was any harm in it and said he thought it was a safe way of getting gratification without involving children.

O'Neill later agreed with gardai that if there wasn't a demand for the images they wouldn't be produced.

O'Neill pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of 25 images of child pornography at his flat on dates between October 24, 2008 and January 10, 2009.

He previously received a 10- year prison term for rape, indecent assault and sexual assault of minors. This sentence was reviewed seven years later and O'Neill released under probation for five years.

The court heard he was on the Sex Offenders' List and was being monitored and had undergone after his release and treatment.

Forensic

Remy Farrell, defending, said O'Neill's orientation was "a life long issue". He argued that these offences were at the lowest end of the spectrum because O'Neill had only viewed the images without saving them.

Experts at the Garda Computer Crime Unit used forensic software to retrieve traces of the viewed images.

Mr Farrell said without his client's guilty plea there could have been an "interesting legal issue" around whether simply looking at porn would amount to possession.

Judge Martin Nolan adjourned sentencing until Tuesday next to consider the appropriate course of action.

hnews@herald.ie