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A Canadian Forces member based at 19 Wing Comox has been given a 90-day intermittent sentence along with a three-year probation order after he was convicted recently of possessing child pornography.
On Friday at the Courtenay courthouse, Judge D. Cowling handed his sentence to Capt. Glen Engebretson, 47, of Comox, who was found guilty of one count of accessing child pornography and one count of possession in March. That followed an April 2010 raid of his home by military police and members of the RCMP’s Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) Unit.
The former charge was stayed.
Engebretson will serve the sentence on weekends at the Nanaimo Correctional Centre, in addition to being placed under house arrest.
Cowling also placed a variety of conditions on the sentence, including a DNA order and restrictive access to the Internet with the exception for business or employment purposes.
During the 2010 raid, authorities seized two computers, finding 122 images and 150 videos classified as child pornography. Much of the illegal material, which was sourced from file-sharing sites such as Limewire, had been deleted after viewing and could be accessed only with file recovery software.
During sentencing arguments, Engebretson addressed the court and admitted he was addicted to his computer, and neglecting his family.
“I no long desire to use a computer; I dislike it,” he said. “The silver lining to all of this is I now realize I have had a computer addiction.”
He explained he now spends time with his family and two children, and despite the heartache, believes he has become a better father and husband.
Crown council recommended a sentence of eight to nine months, noting Engebretson’s remorse is limited, the seriousness of the crime is one of high moral culpability and he did not enter a guilty plea.
“The crime committed is specially by choice. No aspect of the crime is by aspect of necessity; it’s not done in the heat of the moment,” reasoned Crown prosecutor John Boccabella. “Mr. Engebretson made a choice; the children in the files did not have a choice.”
Defence lawyer Dennis Evans told court prior the seizure, Engebretson himself stopped downloading the illegal materials, and has self-imposed a computer restriction.
He also noted Engebretson’s forensic and psychological court reports indicated the possibility of Asperger Syndrome. That wouldn’t excuse his client, but could explain some of the reasons for his behaviour, Evans said.
Evans asked court to consider Engebretson does not have a prior criminal record, is not immersed in the sub-culture of child pornography, has already displayed thee years of good conduct since the seizure and voluntary stopped on his own prior to detection.
He also noted his “unblemished and stellar” 23-year military career, and said he is unsure whether Engebretson will be released from the Canadian Forces.
Ottawa will undertake an administrative review of his career based on the sentence and reasons for judgment,
Engebretson will begin serving his sentence June 7.