A LOST computer drive found at a university has resulted in the arrest of a student and web developer for possession of child pornography.
Staff at Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT) were handed the hard drive and attempted to open it so they could return it to its rightful owner.
However, they were shocked when they opened it on March 16, 2019 and found nude pictures of children on it.
They contacted Gardai at Letterkenny Garda station, who immediately launched an investigation.
Gardai also find college subjects on the hard drive and use a code specific to the college work they manage to keep track of students.
Oliver Ferris, 24, was interviewed by Gardai, where he admitted total access to and downloading of child pornography.
Ferris wheel appears at Letterkenny Circuit Court where he pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography under the Child Pornography and Trafficking Act.
Wearing a blue suit and accompanied by his mother, the details of the case were read out in court.
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Detective Garda Darren Carter told how they called Ferris’ home at Foxhills, Carnamuggagh in Letterkenny on April 15, 2019.
He has delivered several devices including iPhone, Apple Mac and iPad.
These devices were sent to the National Computer Crime Unit on March 4 for analysis.
A total of nine video files, 84 images and 43 urls depicting sexually abused children were found.
Some of the children are as young as five years old.
The court said Ferris had completed a degree and then a master’s degree in computers, had also run a web development business and had more extensive knowledge than most people about computers.
Detective Carter said that analysis showed that Ferris accessed the document more than 59 times in a certain period of time.
Ferris told Gardai that he downloaded it but later deleted it, but some documents are still on his hard drive.
He said he felt stupid downloading the material and that it could ruin the rest of his life.
He admits that he first started downloading these materials when he was 15 years old but doesn’t feel addicted.
He lost his business due to the publicity of the case and his partner also had to move to a new home.
Ferris’ attorney, Shane Costello, SC, said he is asking for an adjournment because his client is currently in consultation.
He said a report on Ferris had shown him to be at average risk of recidivism by certain criteria but that he wanted him to go ahead and complete his counseling.
Judge John Aylmer agreed and adjourned the case until June.
https://www.thesun.ie/news/8308747/student-arrested-computer-drive-found-donegal-college/ Student arrested for possession of child pornography after lost computer drive found at University of Donegal