A FORMER Donegal taxi driver has been sent to prison for possessing child pornography.

David Martin (52), now of 78 Sylvan Park, Letterkenny has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison, with the final 12 months suspended.

Martin was residing at 11 St Jude’s Court, Lifford when Gardaí were alerted by the Online Child Exploitation Unit to someone using an IP address associated with that house posting child pornography images on Twitter.

Gardaí searched the premises on October 6, 2016 and seized a Zeus Storm Desktop computer which contained six videos, with a combined duration of almost two hours, showing teen and pre-teen boys and girls engaged in sexual activity with adults. 

Martin admitted downloading, viewing and possessing the images and also of posting images on Twitter, which brought the matter to a head. The videos were being described as Category 1, the most serious category. 

Sentencing at Letterkenny Circuit Court, Judge John Aylmer said that Martin, who will be on the sex offenders register, had set up ’sophisticated anti-forensic software’ on the device 

Martin had told officers that he often used search engines for the dark web. 

“While this is a single count, evidence establishes that he was engaged in this type of activity since 2013,” Judge Aylmer said,

“It is clear that this material represents only his harvest on this date.”

Barrister for Martin, Mr Peter Nolan BL, said his client’s marriage was over and the marital home had been sold. Mr Nolan said that Martin’s extensive heart issues made him unsuitable for community service.

Judge John Aylmer said his starting point for sentencing was a two-and-a-half-year prison term. There was no suggestion, he said, that Martin was immediately proximate to the abuse or swapping the material for commercial gain.

Described as a low-risk of reoffending, Martin claimed to have been sexually abused as a child and has attended 15 psychotherapy sessions in Dublin. 

Judge Aylmer imposed a sentence of two and a half years in prison and suspended the final 12 months. Martin entered into a €100 bond to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for 12 months subsequent to his release.

Judge Aylmer granted a destruction order on the seized property.


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