Northern Ireland news

Man caught with half a million indecent images of children remanded in custody

Laganside Court in Belfast

A CO Down man caught with half a million indecent images of children was remanded in custody yesterday ahead of sentencing next month.

Brendan Joseph McNally (46), of Dunville Link, Holywood, had pleaded guilty at Downpatrick Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, to ten charges of making indecent images of children, five of possessing indecent images and three of possessing a prohibited image of a child.

According to the court papers, the offences were committed out on dates between May 2, 2018 and June 11, 2019.

During a plea hearing, defence barrister Conan Rae referred Judge Geoffrey Miller QC to a number of recent sentencing cases in England which were disposed of by way of non-custodial sentences.

At Oxford Crown Court, a pensioner caught with 500,000 indecent images and video received a two year sentence suspended for two years.

The sentencing judge in that case said the defendant "richly deserved'' jail time but it was in the public interest for the defendant to complete a rehabilitation programme to stop him from reoffending.

Mr Rae said that in recent times, courts in Northern Ireland dealing with such cases took a "constructive sentencing view'' to those who plead guilty in an effort to tackle their future risks by way of community-based orders.

Mr Rae said the court could deal with the case by "combining retribution with deterrence'' with a community order and not impose an immediate custodial sentence.

Addressing McNally, Judge Miller said: "This is a very difficult and sensitive case.

"Five hundred thousand images, which is what I am effectively dealing with in this case, is the highest number I have encountered in several years.

"There are a number of issues I want to dwell upon and to consider them. I therefore want to reserve my consideration."

McNally will appear again in court on August 9,


Northern Ireland news