Longford man found guilty of possession of child pornography

Mass card salesman Thomas McNally (52) and of 49 Foynes Court, Longford, was found guilty of possessing child pornography by a jury of six men and six women at Longford Circuit Court yesterday (Wednesday).

Mass card salesman Thomas McNally (52) and of 49 Foynes Court, Longford, was found guilty of possessing child pornography by a jury of six men and six women at Longford Circuit Court yesterday (Wednesday).

Mr McNally was convicted under Section 6 (1) of the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act of 1998 of knowingly having in his possession child pornography images on A4 paper at Foynes Court, Longford on February 6th and 7th 2006. The conviction arose out of the recovery of 350 child pornographic images in a field on the outskirts of Longford town and a further 326 images found in a bag in the boot of a car in the driveway of Mr McNally’s house by Gardaí.

The trial, which commenced two weeks ago, was concluded following two hours of deliberation by the jury on the evidence. Mr McNally was remanded on continuing bail to the 9th of June for mention at which time the defence will present the court with an up to date medical report. Judge Michael White postponed sentencing until the Court deals with another defendant.

Earlier in proceedings the jury heard details of the Garda interview with the defendant. Detective Sergeant Keelan Brennan said that he arrested Mr McNally on the 26th of July and conducted a lengthily interview with the defendant. In the interview Mr McNally confirmed that his home had been broken into on the 6th of February 2006 and that a safe had been taken.

He acknowledged that he had not reported the incident to Gardaí at the time. Mr McNally told Detective Sergeant Brennan that the safe contained customer lists, compression files, a cash box, savings books and around €21,200 in cash. He said that there was a small bag of jewellery also taken from the room.

During the interview the Garda asked why he had not reported the theft. Mr McNally alleged that on the night of the robbery his daughter, Tanya Mulryan, revealed that there had been material taken of a “sexual nature” and said that he spoke to her into the night about “certain things” that were new to him. In the interview Mr McNally said that the discussion covered a wide range of issues and he believed that the material was sexually explicate.

At the commencement of yesterday’s (Wednesday’s) evidence council for the defence applied to withdraw the case from the jury. Judge White said that the principals to withdraw are well established, saying the he believed that if the jury convicted Mr McNally it would not be an unsafe conviction.

In his closing statement council for the prosecution, Desmond Dockery SC, said that the subject matter of the trial was disturbing and that the evidence was shocking. He acknowledged that although the defendant was “not caught red handed”, but noted that possession of child pornography is furtive and not easily detectable and very often relies on circumstantial evidence.

In outlining details of the case Mr Dockery pointed to the safe in bedroom that had not been report as stolen. Mr Dockery suggested that it was difficulty to believe that the defendant did not notice a Tesco bag stuffed with 350 images to the rear of the safe. Noting that there was in excess of €21,000 and passports in the safe Mr Dockery said that the matter would have been reported it if it was adult pornography even if it caused embarrassment. Council for the prosecution suggested that €21,000 was a high price to save a few blushes.

Mr Dockery said that there was an inference to be drawn from the fact that there was a shared interest in pornography between father and daughter.

In his charged to the jury Judges White warned that the image and the words would shock them, but urged them to be “ruthlessly dispassionate in regard to the evidence” he said that the onus to prove guilt was on the prosecution. He outlined the evidence of the 14 witnesses, went over the issues in dispute and those not in dispute and the essential controversies of evidence.

Judge White also went over the 12 exhibits for the prosecution and the six for the defence. The jury retired at ten to four and returned to the court just before six to indicate the guilty verdict on both counts.