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Ex-Defence Forces member to be sentenced for possessing Child Abuse Material

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A former member of the Defence Forces who pleaded guilty to possession of child abuse material has had his case adjourned for an independent risk assessment to be carried out before sentencing.

Adrian Short (45) of Corbetstown, Killucan, Co. Westmeath, pleaded guilty to possession of seven images and 14 videos of child pornography at Griffeen Glen Drive, Lucan, Co. Dublin, on March 29, 2021.

Judge Melanie Greally ordered the Probation Service to carry out the assessment as part of a probation report to establish if any additional safeguards are required.

Court proceedings

Detective Garda Sharon Duncan told the court that a warrant was obtained to search a property following a referral from the Garda National Protective Bureau. A search was carried out on March 29, 2021, and the defendant, a father-of-three, handed a Samsung Galaxy mobile phone to gardaí.

The court heard other devices were seized as part of the search but were clean. The defendant made a statement to gardaí during the search, admitting that he had previously accessed child abuse material, which had been deleted, and accessed it again two days before the date of the search.

The phone contained sexually explicit images of children and video of adults engaged in sexual abuse of children. Short told gardaí he had been sexually abused by his father as a child, and his father had been prosecuted for this.

Short was later arrested by arrangement at Clondalkin Garda Station on May 24, 2021. Detective Duncan agreed with Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that the defendant admitted in a later interview that he had used other platforms, but could not recall their names.

Short has no previous convictions. Tusla carried out an investigation but had no concerns. Detective Duncan said Short accessed the images using the Telegram app and was identified because he used his phone number as his ID. The detective said she was not aware that any payments had been made.

Detective Duncan agreed with David Staunton, BL, for the defence, that Short had co-operated and Tusla had no concerns following their separate investigation.

Background of accused

Mr Staunton told Judge Greally that the historic sex abuse in the defendant's family caused great personal shame to the defendant and his family. Two of his siblings also had died in tragic circumstances when he was a teenager.

Short left school at 14 before joining the Defence Forces at the age of 21. He served as a non-commissioned officer in the Military Archives until 2019.

Mr Staunton said the situation had come as a “great shock” to the defendant's wife and family, disrupting their relationship, which has since been re- established. He also lost a new job as a result of the publicity.

Mr Staunton said Short accepted the seriousness of his behaviour and its ramifications. Letters from the defendant, his ex-wife, father-in-law, counsellor, and a neighbour were handed into the court.

Judge Greally noted that the defendant is engaged in counselling, but said there would be a benefit in an independent assessment. She adjourned the case to October 21 to be finalised.

Eimear Dodd

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