Man sentenced for extreme child porn at Carrick-on-Shannon apartment

Leitrim Observer reporter

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Leitrim Observer reporter

Man sentenced for extreme child porn at Leitrim apartment

Possession of 847 images of extreme child pornography

A Polish national, who pleaded guilty to the possession of 847 images of child pornography including “images of the rape of babies” has been given a three-year jail sentence suspended for two years, at Donegal Town Circuit Court.

Wojciech Odrobina, 10 Canal Drive, Prospect Woods, Longford previously pleaded guilty to the possession of 847 images of child pornography at the July sitting of Carrick-on-Shannon Circuit Court.

At the November sitting of Carrick-on-Shannon Circuit Court this year, the court heard that the defendant had downloaded graphic images of children being abused from a site on the dark web.

At that court sitting, Sgt David Donnelly gave evidence of how the defendant had been identified. He said in 2013 an operation was conducted by the German police force into child pornography websites operating on the dark web.

A website investigated featured graphic images of children being abused and operated as a platform where these images were shared and downloaded without charge.

A number of internet protocol addresses linked to those using this site were identified, one of which was traced back to Ireland.

Irish authorities were notified and a subsequent investigation led gardai to an apartment in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Roscommon and a search was carried out under warrant on August 12, 2013.

There was no one in the property at the time but the search uncovered a number of external hard drives including some which were concealed in a laundry basket, and a laptop. All items were brought to the computer crime lab in Dublin for examination.

The defendant returned to Carrick-on-Shannon on August 28 and, believing his apartment had been burgled, contacted gardai.

When he arrived at the garda station Sgt Donnelly said Mr Odrobina was cautioned. The defendant later gave a voluntary interview where he provided gardai with passwords and codes to access the hard drives. He also confessed to downloading child pornography.

Sgt Donnelly said further investigation of the hard drives found a large number of images including images of “an extreme nature” which involved the “rape of babies” remaining on the hard drives.

He said the images included boys and girls with a range of ages from babies to older children with 847 pictures found in total.

He acknowledged some were of genitals of children but added that others were of a more “extreme nature” and were “very graphic in their content”.

“The defendant had also downloaded a specific programme which is used to view and then delete these images from his (hard drive). However he had not managed to delete all the material and some (the 847 images) remained,” he said.

The defendant was later arrested and interviewed at Longford Garda Station and during this, he “made a full admission” about accessing and downloading the images.

He was then charged with possession of child pornography in relation to the images found.

“This is not the sort of website you can just stumble on,” said Sgt David Donnelly in his evidence before the November sitting of Carrick-on-Shannon Circuit Court. “You need to actively search for it and you need a certain amount of computer knowledge to find it."

He noted Mr Odrobina was the sole occupant of the property searched in Carrick-on-Shannon.

“Since this offence (in 2013) Mr Odrobina has married and now has two young children - three and around 7 or 8 months. He is employed in Ireland as an architect at a large building firm and has no previous convictions,” said Sgt Donnelly.

He said that Mr Odrobina had downloaded the images “for his own use and there was no evidence of him sharing these”.

Mr Odrobina told the court that he was “very sorry” for accessing and downloading these images. He described his own childhood as “a nightmare” and said that he and his sister were “under constant terror at home and beaten”.

He said he believed this was where his problem developed and said that he was “too embarrassed of this shameful problem to seek professional help”.

He said there was a time when everything in his life was ok and he was not seeking out these images but he suffered an emotional collapse in 2012 after the death of his sister, and this, along with the impact of long term unemployment and depression, led to him offend.

“I am very sorry for that,” he told the court, adding that he now realised that the images he downloaded were “of really abused kids”.

Asked to explain the content of the images he downloaded, Mr Odrobina said he could not understand the images of underage boys as he had been “searching for underage girls”.

He said he presumed some of the images were downloaded as part of packages and he had been unaware of their content.

Mr Odrobina voluntarily entered a treatment programme and participated in one-to-one therapy from 2014.

Until recently he had met with his therapist in Dublin every second week but this had since been reduced as his therapist was of the view he “didn't need intensive therapy any more.” Mr Odrobina said he will continue to have therapy every second month from now on.

He said that this therapy has helped him to understand the impact the abuse had on the children portrayed in the photos he downloaded. 

The defendant said the “strongest realisation (of the impact of his crime) was when I had my own kids. Christ how could I do this, what I was doing?”

“I experience a very deep shame and am feeling guilty all the time,” he said.

In sentencing the defendant at yesterday’s circuit court Judge John Aylmer said the images were at the extreme end of the range of very young children being abused in an extreme manner which was an aggravating factor.

In mitigation, Judge Aylmer said the defendant had co-operated fully, had no previous convictions and Tusla had closed the books on this matter which meant he was not viewed as an on-going threat to children 

The case had been hanging over the defendant for seven years and he had gotten help for his situation and had shown good insight.

He was assessed as being at a low risk of re-offending.

The judge jailed the defendant for three years and suspended the sentence for two years.

The defendant was bound to the peace for two years, and ordered to comply with all Probation Service requirements and the Sex Offenders Act.