26 Sept 2022

Man avoids jail term after he is caught with child pornography

Man avoids jail term after he is caught with child pornography

A man who was caught with child pornography after gardaí got a warrant to search his home following the detection of certain online conversations has been given a suspended sentence.

Keelan Lanigan (30), who is currently homeless, co-operated with gardaí when they arrived at his home and provided them with passwords to his laptop, where they discovered two videos and one image of child pornography.

Garda Lorraine White said Lanigan later told gardaí in interview that his mother had bought the computer and he would spend time browsing and clicking then on images that interested him. 

He admitted that he would have clicked on maybe 20 similar images telling gardaí that it was “a good bit, I don’t remember the exact amount”.

Gda White said the video showed a pre-pubescent female masturbating with a hairbrush and there was also a still image taken from that video. A second video showed a similarly aged girl getting undressed.

Lanigan accepted that the images were child pornography and said the girls were probably aged 10 or 11 years old. He said he had never used an app to share any of the images.

Lanigan pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to knowingly having possession of child pornography on a HP laptop at his then home in Springfield Park, Foxrock, Dublin on March 22, 2016.

He has no previous convictions and the court was told that the State had allowed the case to be dealt with in the District Court but the judge refused jurisdiction and sent it forward to the Circuit Court.

Judge Elma Sheahan said for this type of offending to occur “a child somewhere in the world is being abused and the court has to keep this to the forefront of its consideration because it is not a victimless crime, even if it is occurring somewhere far away from this man’s home”.

She acknowledged that in comparison to other similar cases that come before the court, this case is at the lower end of such offending.

Judge Sheahan accepted that Lanigan had entered an early guilty plea and had co-operated significantly with the garda operation by providing the passwords for the laptop.

She further accepted that there was a delay bringing the case to court and that a report outlines psychological difficulties Lanigan experienced in childhood. She said he is in difficult circumstances at the moment and is trying to secure employment and accommodation.

Judge Sheahan sentenced Lanigan to 12 months in prison which she suspended in full on strict conditions including that Lanigan engage with the Probation Service for 18 months and undergo any treatment recommended by them.

Gda White agreed with Justin McQuade BL, defending, that five years have passed since Lanigan’s detection and he has not come to any garda attention.

She further agreed with counsel that there was no sharing or circulating of the images, nor had Lanigan created the movies or images himself.

Gda White acknowledged that the severity of the images and the number of images was at a lower level than gardaí would normally see.

She accepted that the files had been deleted previous to his arrest and not recently been accessed by Lanigan.

Mr McQuade handed in a psychological report to the court which he said outlined difficulties Lanigan had as a child and concluded that he would benefit from a sex offenders treatment programme like the Building Better Lives programme.

He said his client is currently living in accommodation that is paid for by a charity but his place there is due to run out next week and he will have to return to living in hostels.

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