A man who appeared before Longford Circuit Court charged under the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act was remanded in custody following a recent hearing into the matter.
Sylvio Rose (51), Knockloughlin, Longford pleaded guilty to knowingly distributing child pornography that included 1,747 digital images of child pornography and a further 35,000 digital images of child pornography at Knockloughlin, Longford on dates between February 2012 and March 2013.
Outlining the case before Judge Keenan Johnson, Mr John Hayden, counsel for the State said that an investigation by gardaí into the matter began when European authorities detected child porn images on an icloud server in Germany.
“This was then traced back to an IP address here in Ireland,” said Mr Hayden, before pointing out that after further inquiries were made, the IP address was subsequently traced back to Sylvio Rose, Knockloughlin, Longford.
Meanwhile, the court heard that the images from the IP address were reviewed by investigating officers in Harcourt Street and a search warrant was subsequently issued to search the defendant’s home in Longford.
Detective Garda Padraig Fahy told the court that when gardaí arrived at the house, Mr Rose opened the door and told them that he was expecting them.
“Mr Rose brought us to his office and showed us the external hard drives; he was fully cooperative,” added Detective Garda Fahy.
“Items were seized and Mr Rose made admissions in a memo of interview.
“He also acknowledged that he had swapped some of the images that he had stored - he used a computer programme that allowed him to share images with other users.”
The court then heard that gardaí observed 11,019 images of males and females under the age of 17 years being subjected to oral and penetrative sex.
There was also 39,190 images, the court was told, of females under 17 years of age fully or partially clothed.
Detective Garda Fahy also pointed out that there was 847 videos that included males and females under 17 years being subjected to oral and penetrative sex and 900 videos with children under 17 years whose genitalia was exposed.
“Mr Rose used certain search words to access sites in the dark net,” added the detective garda, before pointing out that the defendant also shared software on his computer so that the material he possessed could be shared on the web.
“The images indicate that there were children as young as three years of age being sexually abused.
“Some of the images showed a child being abused by a woman - it can’t get any worse than what we saw.”
The court was then told that Mr Rose was born in Germany and moved to Longford with his wife in 2006.
The couple purchased a home in Knockloughlin and moved into the property with their daughter.
Judge Johnson heard that the defendant was a qualified mechanic and currently employed by a company in Athlone.
Defence counsel, Ms Flynn then said that her client’s wife was a long distance lorry driver.
She also pointed out that difficulties for the defendant began in 2012 when he found himself unemployed.
She said, Mr Rose found himself alone a lot and began watching adult porn sites, and that after some time the situation became more “compulsive” for him.
“He moved on to other communities and sharing child pornography images etc,” she continued.
Ms Flynn went on to say that her client had attended counselling in an effort to deal with the compulsive side of his behaviour.
“He hasn’t done anything since 2012-2013 and has fully cooperated with the Gardaí.”
Detective Garda Paul Fitzpatrick, from the Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau, then gave direct evidence to the court.
“These particular images are as bad as they can get,” he said of the images and videos that had been in the defendant’s possession.
“They consisted of thousands of children aged three and four years old being abused and are some of the worst images that I have seen in my nine years working in this area,” Detective Garda Fitzpatrick continued.
“Some of the images would have fallen into sadism and bestiality categories; one particular image showed a child being forced to have sex with a dog.
“Mr Rose is regarded as an ‘aggressive' collector of child pornography - there was tens of thousands of images and in one particular video there was a one-year-old child hanging from a chain from the ceiling being abused and sexually assaulted by her mother.
“Some of the images were of the same child being abused numerous times while others were one-off images,” he added.
In mitigation, counsel for the defendant said her client was 'certainly aware' of the gravity of what he had done.
“He was born in Germany and at the age of 15 his father threw him out of the family home and he went to live with the family of his wife,” she added.
“He qualified as a mechanic in 2002.
“He then came to Ireland where he bought the house in Longford.
“He took an unfair dismissal claim against his employer and paranoia set in; he also began spending a lot of time on his own.
“He began to follow links to porn sites and admits that he spent two hours a day pursuing these dark sites.”
Ms Flynn went on to say that her client had cooperated fully with the gardaí and she also pointed out that the defendant had spent the last few years rehabilitating himself.
“I would ask the court for leniency for Mr Rose,” she stated.
Meanwhile, Judge Johnson remanded the defendant in custody.
“This is the worst case of possession and distribution of child pornography I have ever heard of,” the Judge fumed.
“This type of activity is essentially aiding and abetting what is going on in that world.” The Judge subsequently remanded Mr Rose in custody until May 31, 2018.
Judge Johnson also indicated that he would deliver judgement in the case when the defendant returns before the court at the end of May.