A Dungannon man considered by the National Crime Agency as being involved in one of the worst cases “of sexual exploitation of children”, could be freed within hours today (Friday) because of time already served.
Michael Dynes, originally from Dungannon, but now living in a hostel in Ballymena, was also put on the Sex Offenders’ register for life and subjected to a Sex Offences Prevention Order enabling his monitoring for the next 10 years.
Dungannon Crown Court heard that 39-year-old Dynes set himself up as a fake model agent tricking both children and adults to pose for him, and sometimes into performing sex acts.
The court was also told that a married Dynes “who continues to enjoy some degree of family support” had targeted young people through ads he’d placed on Gumtree ‘seeking life models’.
Judge Neil Rafferty QC sentenced Dynes, who has already served the equivalent of a 28-month sentence, to a total of three years and one month, 13 months jail, the rest on supervised licensed parole.
The judge said instead of returning him back to jail for ‘a month or two’, the public and children would best be protected if he increased his period of “statutory supervision”, allowing him to complete “a tailored” probation run sex offenders’ habilitation course.
Judge Rafferty told Dynes that he had been a married man, in employment, with a home, but “now all of that is gone solely due to your own criminal behaviour,” and because of his criminality, he had “ruined” his life, and that again was “entirely your own fault”.
Dynes offending, between 2007 and 2015, involved a total of 41 charges and ranged from downloading images of child sex abuse, through to voyeurism, to inciting children - some as young as 13 - to perform acts, to fraudulent behaviour, involving four female adult victims.
However, he said he “wanted to make it clear... these images of children are real live children. They are children who live and breath and who have been sexually abused... so people like you can view them.
“No one should be in any doubt that market would not exist but for people like you... no one should be in any doubt that, sitting in the privacy of their own home, can distance themselves from the fact it is a real live child being abused for your satisfaction”.
However, the judge also told Dynes he had received a positive detailed probation report showing his shame, acceptance of his guilt and remorse and that when released on bail he had shown himself to be “open, honest and transparent with probation about your offending”.
Judge Rafferty added, he was satisfied he should be given full credit but that his sentence was meant not only to punish him, but also to deter others.
However, he warned the Tyrone man that even one single breach of any of the statutory orders surrounding his sentence, and he would be remanded back into prison to serve out the full term.
He was caught following one of the first major investigations in Northern Ireland carried out by the National Crime Agency and the PSNI into child sex exploitation.
Among the thousand images of child sex abuse, were over 400 of which prosecution barrister Simon Reid revealed today were “first generation type images”.
In mitigation, the defence said Dynes had “lost everything – his family, his wife, his job and respect. All have gone”, but at the same time acknowledged “and that is his fault. He cannot get any lower”.