Possession of Child Pornography and Luring
Possession of Child Pornography and Luring
In the modern era of technology, the internet makes it easy to create and share images of all kinds, usually from the privacy of your own home. Due to this widespread availability, individuals can find themselves charged with child pornography-related offences – sometimes from a mere lack of awareness. They may have ventured into criminal conduct without understanding they were committing a crime at all.
If you have been charged with the making or possession of child pornography, then you are facing a very serious criminal conviction. Here are some of the things you should know:
In Canada, offences relating child pornography are aggressively pursued by the crown – and the penalties on conviction can be significant. Police are equipped with sophisticated equipment to conduct investigations in this area.
A conviction can mean serious consequences, not merely in terms of jail time, but also due to the impact on social relationships, your reputation, employment and travel. If you are convicted of this type of crime, it can be devastating, both personally and professionally.
However, there are important ways that an experienced criminal defence lawyer can ensure you receive the best possible outcome, including a potential withdrawal of charges. In many cases, there will be difficult evidentiary hurdles for the crown prosecutor to overcome, or there may be instances where police have overstepped their allowable procedures in obtaining evidence. It is my job to mount the best possible legal defence for you.
The Canadian Criminal Code defines child pornography as involving photographs, film, video or other types of visual representations that show a person who is under the age of 18 years old and is engaged in explicit sexual activity.
The definition also includes people who may not be under 18 years old but are depicted as being under 18 years old. In addition, if the dominant characteristic of the visual representation is the depiction, for a sexual purpose, of a sexual organ of a person under the age of eighteen years, it is also considered to be child pornography.
It is important to note that child pornography is not limited to visual images but can also be written material as well. It can even include sexually explicit drawings or cartoons of children – not merely photos.
There are three main offences involving child pornography defined by the Criminal Code. They are:
- Possession of child pornography.
- Making child pornography.
- Distribution of child pornography.
Each of these offences have specific criteria that the crown prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt. A conviction for the crown is never guaranteed.
Possession of Child Pornography
Possession of child pornography charges are quite serious. However, to secure a conviction against a charge this type, the crown must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you actually possessed child pornography. In addition to that, the crown must prove that what you possessed was in fact child pornography.
Therefore, this type of charge usually turns on whether or not you actually had in your possession child pornography. Possession can be made out in a number of ways but can also be challenged in a number of ways. For example, if the computer where the child pornography was found was a family computer or shared among people, you might have a defence.
This type of charge is often also defended by looking at the specific ways the police became aware of any child pornography found in your possession, and how they went about obtaining evidence.
Ultimately, these types of charges are complex and require the expertise of a seasoned lawyer who is experienced in challenging search warrants and arguing for Charter breaches. I have vast experience in defending this type of charge, often with charges being withdrawn or those accused being found not guilty.
Making Child Pornography
Making of child pornography is a more serious offence than possession of child pornography. It involves the making, printing, publishing, or possessing for the purpose of publication any child pornography.
This type of offence requires the crown to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knew the material was child pornography and that you actually made it, printed it, published it, or possessed it for the purpose of publication.
There may be several different defences available to you, depending on how the crown chooses to pursue your charge. For example, there may be more hurdles for the crown to prove if they charge you with making of child pornography by possessing it for the purpose of publication. The crown in that instance would have to prove that you actually possessed child pornography, that it was in fact child pornography, and that you then possessed it for the purpose of publication.
Because of the complex legal layers involved in these types of charges, it is important to retain services of an experienced defence lawyer like myself so that I can mount an aggressive defence against your charges.
Distribution of Child Pornography
Distribution of child pornography is where a person transmits, makes available, distributes, sells, advertises, imports, exports or possesses any child pornography for any of those purposes.
This type of charge is complex, as sometimes simple possession of child pornography on your computer may constitute this offence if it has been downloaded and is available to others via a file-sharing program. The crown will have to prove that you had the actual intent to making child pornography in order for you to be convicted.
As with other offences that involve technology, there is often a large amount of data evidence to sift through. There is also usually a lengthy police investigation behind the scenes of this type of charge. However, this also means that there are usually several avenues for your defence that I can analyze and argue.
Luring a Child
There is also the separate but related offence of child luring. This type of offence is often charged in conjunction with one of the above types of charges. The offence of luring involves communicating with a child by means of telecommunications.
The communication must be for the purposes of committing one or more of a long list of offences, such as sexual exploitation, child pornography, sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching, and other indecent acts. Because of this, there are often several elements that the crown must prove beyond a reasonable doubt.
The penalty for this offence will be more serious depending on how old the child is or how old the person who is accused believed the child to be. However, you may have certain defences available to you depending on your specific scenario. For example, if you took reasonable steps to ascertain the age of the person to be above 18, you might not be liable at law.
Luring charges can involve serious penalties and have lasting social impacts on you. As your lawyer, I will take all steps to ensure that every avenue of defence has been argued. I have a proven track record of ensuring the best result for my clients when it comes to these serious and impactful types of charges.
Potential Penalties – Child Pornography & Luring Offences
The penalties you could face upon being convicted for various child pornography and luring offences will depend on your circumstances – including any aggravating factors. The Criminal Code has set out mandatory minimums for the following offences:
- Making child pornography: There is a mandatory minimum penalty of 1-year imprisonment, with a maximum of up to 14 years. The crown must always proceed by indictment for this charge.
- Distributing child pornography: There is a mandatory minimum penalty of 1-year imprisonment, with a maximum of up to 14 years. The crown must always proceed by indictment for this charge.
- Possessing child pornography: If the crown proceeds by indictment, upon conviction there is a mandatory 1-year imprisonment sentence, and a maximum of up to 10 years imprisonment. If the crown proceeds by summary conviction, then there is a mandatory minimum penalty of six months imprisonment, and a maximum of two years less a day imprisonment.
- Luring: If the crown proceeds by indictment, the minimum sentence is 1 year, and the maximum is 14 years. If the crown proceeds summarily, the minimum sentence is 6 months imprisonment, and a maximum of two years less a day imprisonment.
Many of these offences have had the mandatory minimum sentences struck down by the courts at various levels across Canada. I can walk you through what penalties you may be facing in Alberta if convicted of a child pornography or luring offence.
It is also important to note that a conviction for these offences will result in an order under the Sex Offender Information Registration Act, designating you as a registered sex offender.
Contact me, Susan Karpa, to discuss your matter.
Cases involving child pornography and luring are complex, and the stakes are especially high. They raise special challenges in terms of mounting an effective legal defence, but also require sensitivity to the personal issues that these kinds of charges can raise.
I have many years of experience defending these types of charges. I can help you.
My skills include critically analyzing the techniques and procedures used by police during their investigation, and of the method used to obtain judicial authorization for a search warrant. Most cases will also require input from forensic computer analysts, and a review of sophisticated investigation techniques. This requires knowledge of technology, as well as in-depth familiarity with the relevant law.
Since the crown must prove the elements of the offence, there are many other detailed, technical, procedural and evidentiary aspects that I will analyze with a view towards dismantling the case against you. I can assist with your defence.