DPP will not bring proceedings against Marques in child abuse images case

Tuesday 10 December 2013 22.52
Eric Eoin Marques was further remanded in custody until 21 January
Eric Eoin Marques was further remanded in custody until 21 January

An Irishman, described by an FBI Special Agent as "the largest facilitator of child porn in the world", has indicated he would plead guilty to the offences if he were prosecuted in Ireland.

However, the High Court was told this morning that the Director of Public Prosecutions will not bring proceedings against Eric Eoin Marques.

Mr Marques is alleged to be the owner and administrator of an anonymous hosting site known as Freedom Hosting.

The 28-year-old is wanted by US authorities to face charges relating to conspiring to distribute and advertise child pornography, and advertising and distributing child pornography.

Mr Marques, with an address at Mountjoy Square in Dublin, has been in custody since his arrest in August, after he was refused bail over concerns he represented a flight risk and that he may abscond or interfere with evidence in the case.

The charges against him relate to images on over 100 "anonymous websites" described as being extremely violent, graphic and depicting the rape and torture of pre-pubescent children.

The websites in question have "thousands of members" who have posted "millions of images" of child abuse.

The FBI has claimed that some of the children involved are infants.

The extradition court previously heard from FBI Special Agent Brooke Donahue, who described Mr Marques as "the largest facilitator of child porn in the world".

Ronan Kennedy BL, for the Attorney General, told the High Court that he had received confirmation this morning that the DPP had decided not to bring proceedings against Mr Marques with respect to the alleged offences.

Counsel for Mr Marques, Remy Farrell SC, said that last month his solicitor had submitted a detailed letter to the DPP, in which it was indicated that Mr Marques would enter a plea of guilty were the offences to be prosecuted in this jurisdiction.

Mr Farrell said that Mr Marques had maintained his previous observations with regard to the jurisdiction to prosecute, and it was contended that no one other than the DPP had jurisdiction to prosecute.

He said that the direction from the DPP was a "very significant event" in the context of the extradition proceedings, and a number of other events that will affect the overall running of the case would now take place in quick succession.

Mr Farrell submitted that the sensible application would be to adjourn the case and list it for mention in January. 

Mr Kennedy told the court that the Attorney General was in a position to fix a date for the hearing of the extradition case.

Mr Justice Edwards said he was conscious that there were complex issues involved and the court must allow a certain amount of time having regard to what was said by Mr Farrell.

He said there was no question of a date being fixed now, and he remanded Mr Marques in custody to appear before the High Court on 21 January 2014.