A young man who downloaded ‘cartoon’ images of child pornography onto his phone has escaped going to jail.
Aaron Davies, 20, appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court after Gardai found ‘Hentai’ on his phone after it was seized.
Davies was arrested and Gardai said he was genuinely shocked when he was told that the images were classed as child pornography.
The images did not feature real children but were animated images involving children being sexually abused.
Hentai is a Japanese genre characterised by overtly sexually explicit images.
Detective Garda David Leahy told the court that he had arrested Davies and took him to Letterkenny Garda Station for interview on September 10, 2021 in relation to the sixteen images found on his phone.
Detective Leahy said that Davies was genuinely and visibly shocked when told that the imagery was classed as child pornography.
The images contained on Davies’ phone showed animated pictures of a young boy having sex with his older sister as well as her performing sex on the young boy.
The court was told that the accused was cooperative with Gardai at all times and was only 18 years old when the images were found on his Huawei phone.
His barrister, Mr Peter Nolan, said he was familiar with Hentai having lived in Japan for two years but said this was a darker side to the imagery saying it did not all relate to pornography.
He said his client was a very intelligent young man and a gifted guitarist who had studied music but who had suffered a difficult upbringing.
His parents had split when he was young and he had been smoking cannabis from an early age and moved onto harder drugs from the age of 17 after falling into bad company.
He stressed that his client, formerly of Srath Aoibhinn, Stranorlar, was not sexually attracted to children and was genuinely surprised that this was deemed to be child pornography.
Davies was now working for his uncle in Sligo and his godfather was in court as he had fully supported him.
Passing sentence Judge John Aylmer said he placed the case at the lower end of the scale with a starting point of six months.
However, he added that the accused had been engaged in viewing the images “recklessly rather than intentionally” and the offence was almost “accidental” in nature.
Judge Aylmer said Davies had dealt with the case in the most appropriate way and had pleaded guilty at an early stage.
He sentenced Davies to 80 hours community service in lieu of four months in prison.