Belfast Telegraph

Child porn accused fails in anonymity bid

A man accused of child porn offences failed today in a bid to have his identity protected.

Ian Robert McMurtry's lawyer urged Belfast Magistrates' Court to impose reporting restrictions due to fears he may try to commit suicide.

But a judge refused to impose a media ban because the only evidence was a letter from the defendant's brother.

McMurtry (26) of Stranmillis Street in the city, faces charges of making and possessing an indecent photograph of a child.

He is further accused of having an extreme pornographic image.

The alleged offences were committed on dates between August 2012 and January 2013.

The media ban was sought as McMurtry made his first court appearance on the charges.

A letter from the accused's brother was produced, setting out his perceived deteriorating mental state.

"He has confided in his brother that his life is at risk from his own hands due to reporting of this matter," his lawyer said.

He added that he lives by himself and suffers from depression.

But a detective involved in the investigation said he was unaware of any risk to McMurtry.

After confirming the alleged indecent images do not involve any of his relatives, the officer added: "I have no reason to come to court and ask for reporting restrictions."

District Judge Fiona Bagnall pointed out that potential distress or embarrassment to the defendant was not enough to justify granting anonymity.

She gave the defence time to produce any medical material but was told there was nothing further to be submitted.

"On the basis of the evidence put before me, which is simply a letter from his brother indicating concerns... that isn't a sufficient basis for me under case law to restrict the reporting," Judge Bagnall said.

"I would have to refuse your application at this stage."

McMurtry was released on continuing bail to appear again for an update on the case on October 29.

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