A 65-year-old man has been sentenced to four years in jail and fined €5,000 for possessing hundreds of thousands of images of child pornography.

Raphael Farina, a former Central Bank employee, of Spranger's Yard, Crowe Street, Dublin 2, was convicted after a trial at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court last month.

More than 700,000 files containing images or information on child pornography were found on CDs, DVDs and computer disc when his home was searched in 2007.

10,000 images were also found on his home computer.

The files contained images, videos and instructions on avoiding detection from paedophile groups specialising in sharing information.

Farina told gardaí he had been downloading child pornography for ten years and had thousands of images. When his apartment was searched he handed a box to gardaí containing compact discs and DVDs and said ‘there is no point denying it’.

Detective Garda Gerard Keane, a computer forensic examiner, said some of the files had descriptive names and showed graphic images of sexual activity with young children. Over 100 of the images involved babies or toddlers.

Farina told gardaí the material in the box had been kept at work and he had taken it home the previous day. He said he had never downloaded the material at work. He said he was fascinated by breaking the codes and ‘just kept decrypting it’. He told gardaí it became an obsession.

The court was told he had no previous convictions and had been a public servant all his working life, reaching the rank of senior administrative officer in the Central Bank.

He was separated from his wife four years ago and now has a partner in Thailand with whom he has a child.