|Being charged with a child pornography-related offence such as possession of child pornography can be devastating for an individual. The arrest and subsequent charge is usually the subject of a press release and limited media coverage. If the individual is married, the stress on the marriage that results is tremendous. My clients are often having suicidal thoughts after an arrest of this type and they come to me for hope at a time when their whole world has been turned upside down.
The following cases represent a sampling of the child pornography charges that I have dealt with:
|2015 Child Pornography ***2 cases***
Both cases resulted in no criminal charges or record.
R. v. N. Child Pornography (2015 Brampton)
Factual Background: My client was investigated by the police for possession of child pornography because of some online chats that he engaged in with someone in the United States who may have been underage. This came to the attention of the police and they went to speak to my client, who then spoke to me.
Strategy: I was able to intervene on my client's behalf, and persuade the police that he had no intention of speaking to anyone underage, and that if the person was underage he was never aware of it, but he had undertaken on his own to get some counselling regardless. I assured the officer that I would monitor that counselling on an ongoing basis.
Decision/Outcome: The police chose not to investigate further and no charges were laid.
R. v. G. (2015 Brampton) - Possession, Accessing, and Distribution of Child Pornography
Factual Background: My client was charged with a series of child pornographic offences as a result of accessing certain websites and exchanging information with other people on his computer network.
Strategy: My client was a paraplegic who is confined to a wheelchair, and has limited use of his hands and I was able to obtain a report from a well known and respected forensic psychiatrist. The report indicated that given all his physical and mental difficulties, there was virtually no risk of re-offending and certainly no risk of anything more serious happening because he cannot leave his apartment without the assistance of his parents. There was some argument that most of these incidents if not all may in fact have happened before the client turned eighteen.
Decision/Outcome: In light of all of these circumstances, the Crown elected to stay the proceedings against my client.
|***2010 and prior***
R. V. (Brampton Court, May 2010)
Factual Background: Client charged with Possession and Distribution of Child Pornography. He had downloaded over 100 child pornography videos off limewire and by using limewire he allowed the videos to be accessed by others.
Strategy: Convince the Crown not to proceed on the Distribution charge and to proceed on the Possession charge summarily rather than by indictment. If the Crown had proceeded by indictment on the distribution charge, the client would have a 1 year mandatory minimum jail sentence. I needed to delay the case to allow the client to fully adjust to the situation he was facing and to begin serious counseling. Once the client had done a great deal of counseling, I had a risk assessment done that came back very positive. I then had character letters prepared and showed everything to the Crown including the assessment and the counseling reports. The Crown then agreed to proceed by summary conviction on the possession charge. The Crown was still seeking 12-15 months in jail but the mandatory minimum was now 14 days instead of 1 year.
Decision/Outcome: Client received 90 days on weekends plus probation. This allowed the client to keep his job and continue working and has since received a huge promotion and raise. This was the light I had promised the client would eventually appear the end of a very dark tunnel—there is always hope regardless of how desperate your situation may appear!
R. v. O.G. (Brampton 2007)
Factual Background: I have included this case separately because the facts are somewhat unique and they emphasize the importance in retaining counsel as soon as possible. Mr. O.G. took his laptop in for service and the technician found child porn on it and called the police. Mr. O.G. was 70 years old at the time and was married with children and grandchildren of his own. He was convinced that a charge of this nature would mean that he would never see his grandchildren again.
The Strategy: Find a way to convince the police not to charge Mr. O.G. even though it was clearly his laptop and it had been his surfing that resulted in the possession of child pornography.
Decision/Outcome: Relying upon the good relationship I maintain with the police, I was able to provide them with medical information and assurances regarding the client’s future conduct that resulted in them agreeing to formally caution the client but not charge him. The family never knew and he has an on-going loving relationship with his children and grandchildren. .
This case was unique but it demonstrates the importance of getting experienced counsel involved in the process as soon as possible. If you are facing any such situation, call me right away.
R. v. J.O. Internet Luring 2007 Milton Court
Factual Background: Police arrested my client at his workplace and tried to make him look like Paul Bernardo claiming that he had lured these 2 young girls off the internet by promising alcohol in exchange for sexual encounters.
The Strategy: To show during cross-examination that it had actually been the girls that had actively pursued my client and that in fact he had tried to block them from contacting him. I would also try to show that my client had not asked for sex; one of the girls had simply offered it and he declined. .
Decision/Outcome: The client was acquitted of all luring charges. The girls admitted that they pursued him and were using him in the hopes that he would buy them alcohol. They further agreed that he had tried to discourage them from getting the alcohol and they agreed that he had attempted to block them from contacting him.
R. v. RO. (Brampton 2002); R. v. WO. (Brampton 2005);
Factual Background: I have grouped all of these cases together because although there are slight differences here and there, the pattern is generally the same. My clients find themselves surfing the net for porn but there is so much of it that the mind goes numb to a lot of it after a while and something new is required to get the juices flowing. The searches then become wider and more questionable and before they know it, they are regularly viewing child pornography. And now they are in a very dark psychological place that they do not know how to escape from. They know it is wrong and none of them actually want to be there but their compulsion holds them there – they hate themselves and they have no hope that it is going to get any better. But it does get better and ironically it is the arrest and charge that provides that opportunity.
R. v. J. (Halton 2006); R. v. S. (Brampton 2007).
The Strategy: My first step is to enroll the clients in counseling with a psychotherapist. Regardless of what may happen with the case, they need to get their head into a better place and they have to figure out what got them there so that they can avoid going back. For most of my clients their whole life depends on a successful turn-around: their job, their friends, their family, their marriage, etc.
In addition to the counseling, I have them assessed by a professional so that the therapist has every possible piece of relevant information available so that he or she can do the best job possible. The client needs to get better. This is the golden opportunity to leave the dark place they found themselves in and it is my job to make sure they have all the support necessary to make that happen.
Decision/Outcome: All of the clients I have represented have successfully turned their lives around. Those who were married kept their marriage together and those that were single have since gotten married or settled into long-term stable relationships. Only one of my clients ended up with an actual jail sentence and that was because he had not only possessed child pornography but he had distributed it. Even with Mr. S. however, I was able to convince the Crown Attorney to proceed by Summary Conviction rather than by Indictment so that the client did not have to face a minimum 1 year in jail – he received a sentence of 7 months instead.
Child Pornography Charges