High Court to rule on bail for "largest facilitator of child porn on the planet"
on 11/09/2013 13:54:20
Mr Justice John Edwards said that there were "clearly weighty issues to be reflected on" in the reapplication for bail by Eric Eoin Marques, and that court would give its ruling tomorrow morning on whether the matter would proceed.
The US authorities are seeking the extradition of Mr Marques, on charges relating to images on over a hundred "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 pornography. Some the children involved are infants, the FBI claim.
Last month Mr Justice Paul Gilligan refused to grant bail to Mr Marques, with an address at Mountjoy Square in central Dublin, until the extradition request has been determined.
Investigating gardaí and the FBI both objected to bail being granted on the grounds that Mr Marques represented a flight risk and there was a fear of destruction of evidence.
The court previously heard Mr Marques, who has Irish and US citizenship, was arrested in Dublin on foot of a provisional extradition warrant issued by a US court on July 29.
At the first bail hearing it was disclosed that the Minister for Justice was awaiting the formal extradition request from the US authorities seeking Mr Marques' surrender, but Mr Remy Farrell SC today told the High Court that the the full, formal request for Mr Marques's extradition had since been received from the United States.
Mr Farrell said Marques was entitled to bring a second application for bail because of this change in circumstances from his arrest on a provisional warrant.
Counsel for the Attorney General, Mr Patrick McGrath SC, told the extradition court that it should not entertain the application as there was no change in circumstances that would allow another bail application, and if the defendant felt Mr Justice Gilligan was in error, he could appeal to the Supreme Court.
The US authorities are seeking the extradition of Mr Marques on four charges. The court heard that if convicted he faces sentences of up to 30 years in prison.
The charges were brought against Mr Marques following a year-long investigation involving both the FBI and the Gardai.
The US authorities believe the websites they have targeted as part of their investigation operate on a single computer server to a single anonymous hosting service.
That hosting service has been accessed and administered to via a single IP address - the numerical label assigned to each computer or device that uses the internet - in the United States.
The US claims Mr Marques is the sole administrator of the anonymous hosting service for the websites located on the single server the FBI's investigation has targeted.
It claims no other customer uses the server, and according to the internet server provider Eric Marques is the single subscriber who contracts for the use of the server. It is claimed he accessed the server via his address in Dublin.
It is also alleged he attempted to obscure his identity when connecting to the server.
Payment for the use of the server was made by a debit card in Eric Marques' name from a US bank account, and the billing address was through a private mailbox facility in Los Vegas assigned to Eric Marques.
Mail from that address was forwarded to Mr Marques's address at Russell House Mountjoy Square in Dublin, it is alleged.