Judge Finds Computer-Generated Pornography Did Not Harm Children

A convicted child abuser has received a suspended jail sentence after a judge said the computer-generated child pornography images he viewed did not harm or exploit children.

Traces of illustrated images of children involved in sexually explicit activity were found on computer hard drives belonging to 54-year-old John O’Neill.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard yesterday that the 25 images did not depict real children but were very graphic and designed to look like real children.

O’Neill had found the images on the internet and told gardaí he viewed them to be sexually gratified without involving children.

Judge Martin Nolan said that if the material had been typical child pornography using real children, or if O’Neill had paid for it, he would be imposing a “reasonably severe” sentence.

Adding however that as in this case no actual children were involved and that O’Neill had not paid for the images it put the case at the lower end of seriousness. “This material, no matter how odious, did not harm or exploit children,” he said.

Nolan had previously received a 10-year prison term for counts of rape, indecent assault and sexual assault of minors.

This sentence was reviewed seven years later and O’Neill was released on probation for five years.

Judge Nolan noted that there were no other offences, apart from the one before the court, since his release.

Noting O’Neill’s guilty plea and admissions to gardaí, Judge Nolan suspended a sentence of two years on condition that he be of good behaviour for that period.


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