At Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday, Clarke, 58, of Ballyhaunis, pleaded guilty to four counts of knowingly distributing child pornography in Tallaght, Dublin, on separate dates in August 2010. He also pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography at the same address.
Detective Garda Cathal Delaney told Fiona McGowan, prosecuting, that the files found on Clarke’s computer drives were the “the largest collection of child porn” he had ever found up to that date.
He said the materials included sexual activity involving children with children, children with adults and children with animals. He said some of these victims were infants.
He said that Clarke was using Gigatribe, a legitimate social-networking site which he compared to Facebook, to distribute these images. The court heard that Clarke would restrict access to his files to other users who were sharing files.
Delaney said that warnings about sharing files and an invitation to others to “enjoy the files you use” was repeated in a number of languages.
He said that Clarke was also using an email account to speak to a woman about keeping her and her 14-year-old daughter as sex slaves.
Garda Christopher O’Leary told McGowan that Clarke has a previous conviction for sex with a minor in 1977. Defense counsel Kitty Perle said Clarke claimed he was only aged around 20 at the time and the girl was 14.
Perle said her client had previously suffered from depression and had attempted suicide a number of times. She said that since then Clarke had overcome his depression and set up a security firm.
She said a car accident in 2003 caused him another setback and he began spending “many, many hours” on the computer at home on his own.
She said he began browsing adult porn and that curiosity led him to child porn and that this quickly became out of control.
Judge Patricia Ryan said this is a very serious case and ordered that a psychiatric report be produced for the court. She remanded Clarke in custody at Arbour Hill for sentencing on October 26.
VIP, Cutbacks for Shannon
A NEW VIP lounge is to be developed at Shannon Airport and Quintessentially Aviation, the aviation wing of the world’s leading luxury lifestyle group Quintessentially, is behind it.
However, there are also concerns about plans to cut the opening hours of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection pre-clearance facility, something that was crucial to securing the Quintessentially investment.
Quintessentially will use the service as its flagship for corporate jet traffic operated from the world’s most exclusive private/corporate jet airport, Al Bateen Airport in Abu Dhabi. The investment will result in Shannon being heavily marketed for its U.S. pre-clearance facility in this area of the Middle East, which will attract private and corporate jet operators and owners to Shannon for transit stops en route to America. Shannon is the only airport in the world offering a US pre-clearance service for business aviation.
Announcing the deal, Quintessentially Aviation chief operating officer, Brendan McQuaid said, “The US pre-clearance facility for business aviation is a unique offering that will enable our Middle Eastern clients to not just make their necessary transit stop but to also fully pre-clear at Shannon. This will allow them to land at any of over 200 domestic airports, rather than deal with congestion normally associated with having to clear on arrival in the U.S. at international airports.”
As the pre-clearance facility was crucial to securing the deal with Quintessentially, there are concerns about plans to reduce its operating hours at Shannon from 12 hours per day to eight hours. Clare TD (member of Parliament) Pat Breen said he will raise the issue with U.S. Ambassador Dan Rooney and will lobby members of the U.S. Senate and Congress about the matter.