The Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (Black Press file photo)

The Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (Black Press file photo)

Court of Appeal reduces prohibition time in Courtenay child porn case

Evidence against appellant had included 2,700 images and 125 videos on iPad and phone

WARNING: This story contains graphic details that may be triggering to some readers.

The B.C. Court of Appeal reduced the duration earlier this month of a prohibition order against a local man sentenced for the possession and distribution of child pornography.

The appellant, who cannot be named because of a publication ban, was charged following a search at a Courtenay residence in January 2018, then pleaded guilty in B.C. Supreme Court in Courtenay in 2020.

During the search, the police turned up images on his iPad and a phone belonging to his former girlfriend, who was living with him at the time and pregnant with their child. In all, there were 2,700 images and 125 videos. In addition, there was evidence in the form of correspondence between the appellant and his girlfriend in which they discussed acts of sexual abuse on their unborn child and his desire to sexually abuse her 10-year-old half-sister. There was also evidence of communications between the appellant and other people in which child pornography was shared and discussed.

In his appeal, the appellant wanted to reduce the scope and duration of prohibition orders imposed. The sentencing judge had given an aggregate 30-month sentence and prohibited him from engaging in certain conduct or attending areas that would provide access to children under the age of 16 for a period of 25 years. The appellant, diagnosed with pedophilic disorder, has been assessed as a moderate risk to re-offend sexually.

Among the aggravating factors the sentencing judge cited were the appellant’s sexualization of his unborn child and girlfriend’s younger half-sister, and his exploitation of his girlfriend to involve her in his offences.

“Although he seems to be developing some insight, in my view he fails even now to properly understand or appreciate his own sexual deviancy and risk to children,” Justice Robin Baird wrote in his sentencing decision from B.C. Supreme Court.

Specifically, the appellant asked the court to reduce the duration of the prohibition order from 25 years to three years and narrow the scope to include only a condition prohibiting him from being alone in a private dwelling while in the presence of anyone younger than 16, unless supervised by a person approved in advance by the court.

Age 25 at the time of sentencing and with no criminal record, the appellant had become sexually active at 17 and started drinking alcohol, using alcohol and drugs regularly by 19, and accessing child pornography at age 21.

READ MORE: Vancouver Island man sentenced for child porn possession and distribution

The Court of Appeal ultimately accepted the 25-year duration was too severe but that the three years requested was not severe enough, so it imposed a 15-year term.

“After serving the 30-month jail sentence, the appellant will still be a young man when released into the community. In the context of the evidence, there is clearly a basis to impose a lengthy term in the prohibition orders,” Justice Barbara Fisher wrote in the decision.

She also amended the sentencing order to permit the appellant’s contact with customers or co-workers in a permitted potential employment setting, providing the employer provides supervision by an employee. Justice David Franklin Tysoe Justice Lauri Ann Fenlon concurred with the decision.



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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