April 2021

Student who said he would ‘save gardaí the hassle’ of searching his laptop for child images is given suspended sentence

A Co Donegal man who admitted downloading dozens of pictures and movies of children being sexually abused by a German-based paedophile ring has walked free from prison.

Computer science student and electrician Martin Ferris was caught by gardaí who raided two properties after the accused was identified by his IP computer address by European police agency Interpol.

Officers raided the 32-year-old’s home in Ballyshannon and a rented flat in Letterkenny where they found the cache of horrific material.

Detectives recovered a large stash of items on Ferris’s laptop computer and also a hard-drive.

The haul included 152 images and 143 movies all containing explicit material of children aged from four years to 14 years involved in various sexual acts.

Ferris immediately admitted his crimes to gardaí saying he would “save them the hassle” of looking for child pornography on his laptops.

Detective Garda John Rooney said Ferris supplied them with passwords and was very cooperative with their investigation.

Ferris, of St Benildus Avenue in Ballyshannon appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court

Judge John Aylmer said the first charge of images contained on the hard-drive were of a very serious nature despite what he called the “relatively low volume” of material found.

He placed this charge at the upper end of such categories and merited a prison sentence of two and half years before mitigation.

The second charge of six movies on a laptop he placed at the lower end of such categories and merited 18 months before mitigation.

However, he said that these should be reduced to 20 months and 12 months on mitigation.

This mitigation included his early plea, his obvious remorse, the fact that he had no previous charges, had undergone counselling and had offered a sum of €2,500 to a children’s charity.

Judge Aylmer said however, that this was one of those rare cases in which the entire sentence should be suspended due to all the mitigating circumstances.

He added the fact that the accused had had the case hanging over him for the past five years was one of these factors.

He adjourned the case until July and said that if Ferris pays the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children the sum of €2,500 he would suspend the entire sentence.

He placed him in the care of the probation services and also ordered him to be put ion the Sex Offenders Register.

April 2021

Pervert  downloaded hundreds of child sex abuse photos

A man who admitted to downloading hundreds of child abuse pictures and videos said he now knows it’s not a “victimless crime”.

Donegal computer science student and electrician Martin Ferris was caught by gardai who simultaneously raided his home in Ballyshannon and a rented flat in Letterkenny.

Gardai at the Paedophile Investigation Unit had received information from their colleagues at the European Police Agency Interpol, who tracked down Ferris through his IP address.

Detectives recovered a large stash of items on Ferris’ computers and hard-drives.

The haul included 152 images and 143 movies all containing explicit material of children aged from four to 14 involved in various sexual acts.

On the day of the searches, 32-year-old Ferris came clean to gardai straight away, saying he would “save them the hassle” of looking for child pornography on his devices.

Detective Garda John Rooney said Ferris, who was a student at the Letterkenny Institute of Technology, supplied them with passwords and was very cooperative with their investigation.

Ferris, of St Benildus Avenue in Ballyshannon, pleading guilty to charges of possession of child sexual abuse imagery  told Letterkenny Circuit Court that he always suffered from social anxiety.

“I have always been socially awkward and backwards,” he said.

Since being caught with the child pornography, Ferris has undergone counselling and now recognised the fact that this was not a victimless crime.

He had brought €2,500 to court which he had saved up and wanted to offer this as some compensation to a children’s charity for what he had done.

He added: “I have seen my behaviour and I have seen that this is not a victimless crime and there had to be accountability and I can give something back.”

Judge John Aylmer adjourned the case for final sentencing until next Tuesday.