FIRST OFFENDER? DEFEND CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CHARGES IN LONDON. 1-866-DEFENCE.
In 2018, a child pornography investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police led to 122 individuals in Ontario being charged with child pornography related offences. Of them, seven of the individuals were located in London, Ontario. Over 551 total charges were laid as a result of this investigation. These trends of increasing numbers of child pornography charges being laid reflects an overall trend in Canada, where the total number of child pornography offences increases each year. Statistics Canada reports that over half of police-reported sexual offences are offences against youth under the age of eighteen.
The London Courthouse is located at 80 Dundas Street in London, Ontario. The Ontario Court of Justice in London for Youths and Adults can be reached at 519-660-3013. The Superior Court of Justice in London can be reached at 519-660-3000. The Crown Attorney for the London Courthouse can be contacted at 519-660-3003.
Child pornography charges in London will include orders restricting contact with children and the internet. They may also be published in local media, a publication ban can protect certain evidence from disclosure and may be an option.
The Firm has defended a number of High Profile Child Pornography allegations where Microsoft, Kik, Google and Twitter have sent cyber tips to the National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre (NCECC) located in the United States, which have ultimately been used as a basis for Production Orders from Rogers Communication and Bell by Toronto, Halton and Peel Police. The Firm is one of the few to have successfully defeated international child pornography investigations.
In 2022, the Firm successfully represented a youth offender accused of downloading child pornography material from a social media website in R. v. P.S. . The young person was charged with two counts of possession of child pornography. After significant upfront work and more than two years of Crown negotiations the Firm secured the withdrawal of one charge and a discharge on the other charge, avoiding a criminal record.
In 2022, Donich Law successfully defended an individual charged in London Courthouse with one count of child luring, four counts of possession of child pornography, three counts of distribution of child pornography and one count of making child pornography in R. v. T.T. . The client was charged after sharing child pornography material with another user on Instagram. The activity was flagged by Instagram and reported to law enforcement. Law enforcement investigated and ultimately got a warrant for the accused’s residence. Upon further investigation, the accused was alleged to have also been communicating with a minor online for a sexual purpose. Donich Law successfully resolved the matter by exploiting a significant 11(b) delay in the case, caused by the Crown. The Firm resolved the matter with seven of nine charged being withdrawn.
In 2022, Donich Law represented an individual charged with 7 child pornography offences including making, distributing and possessing child pornography material in R. v. E.Z. . The accused, a second-time offender who previously spent time in prison for child pornography offences, was caught in a large international sting targeting those in possession of child pornography. After seizing his electronic devices, law enforcement uncovered a large amount of child pornography material and alleged that the accused had been communicating with other offenders online. The Firm conducted a thorough analysis of the production orders and search warrants and uncovered an error which led to the Firm launching a section 8 Charter challenge. The Firm also launched a section 11(b) Charter challenge after significant Crown delay. The challenges led to the Crown significantly altering their position and agreeing to withdrawal 5 of the most serious charges against the accused.
In R. V. J.M. , the Firm represented a client charged with one count of child pornography after allegedly downloading child pornography material from a file sharing website. The accused was arrested after a search warrant was executed on his residence. The Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) Unit of the police seized several of the accused’s electronic devices during the execution of the warrant and used the metadata from these devices to confirm that illegal material had been downloaded. The Firm spent roughly 2 years reviewing and analysing the forensic data collected by law enforcement and ultimately secured a withdrawal by arguing the defence of accidental download. Withdrawals are extremely rare in child pornography cases due to the strong public interest in prosecuting those found in possession of child pornography material. Deputy Crown approval is required before Crown counsel can agree to withdrawal the charge.
In the Firm’s R. v. J.A. , Ontario Police ICE Unit received a Cyber Tip from the National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre (NCECC) and the FBI, who received a complaint from the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), located in the United States. Ultimately the Firm secured a withdrawal of both Possession and Distribution of Child Pornography in Guelph. The Firm also defends a number of offenders caught on the Darknet, including where offenders attempt to use anonymous file sharing software, private networks or Tor Browser to avoid detection, such as its R. v. J.T. .
For more information on child pornography offences, click here. Our firm also conducts in-house child pornography forensics in Toronto to assist with your relevant defences. For information on our forensics practice, click here.
Click here for more information on new changes to child sex offence sentencing and for more information on other consequences associated with a child pornography conviction. For more details on the laws about reporting child pornography and new changes to sex offence laws in 2021 click on the links above.
CBC Radio: International Crime and Cyber Attacks.
Toronto Star: Pornhub and Revenge Porn.
Toronto Star: New Corporate Liability for Child Pornography in Canada.
Toronto Star: Police Power and Social Media Companies.
Global News: Can an airline tell you to stop recording and delete a cellphone video?
Métro Montréal: Avec le temps chaud, il n’y a pas que le mercure qui grimpe: le nombre de cas de voyeurisme aussi.
CityNews: As the temperatures outside get warmer, police say the reported number of cases of voyeurism tend to rise.
VICE News: An Image Site is Victimizing Women and Little Can be Done.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Different Child Pornography Offences?
-Making Child Pornography
-Distributing Child Pornography
-Possession of Child Pornography
-Accessing Child Pornography
What if the Child Pornography has been Deleted?
Can Written Material be Considered Child Pornography?
Assaulting a Peace Officer
Child Pornography Forensics
Children’s Aid Society
Sexual Assault Law in Canada
Sex Offender Prohibition Orders
Consequences of a Criminal Record
Keeping Charges Private
Travel & US Waivers
Vulnerable Sector Screening
Elements of a Crime
What are the Different Child Pornography Offences?
Making Child Pornography – s. 163.1(2)
The offence of making child pornography applies to any individual who publishes, prints, makes, or possess child pornography for the purpose of publishing it. To be charged with this offence, the individual must create child pornography that differs from other existing instances of child pornography. The maker of child pornography is the individual who controls or directs the instance of child pornography that is unique from other instances of child pornography.
If an individual is found guilty of making child pornography under section 163.1(2) of the Criminal Code, they may be found guilty of an indicatable offence and liable to a term of imprisonment that does not exceed ten years and a minimum term of imprisonment of one year. Alternatively, the individual may be found guilty of an offence punishable by summary conviction and liable to a term of imprisonment that does not exceed two years less a day or a minimum term of imprisonment of six months.
Distributing Child Pornography – s. 163.1(3)
The offence of distributing child pornography applies to any individual who distributes, advertises, possesses, makes available, sells, transmits, exports, or imports child pornography for the purpose of distribution, sale, importation, transmission, advertisement or exportation. The London Crown will be required to prove that the individual had actual knowledge or intent to share the child pornographic files containing child pornography. Or, the London Crown must be able to prove that the accused was willfully blind to the content of the child pornography files shared and that the accused had suspicion that the files were child pornographic in nature but they took no steps to determine if their suspicion was true.
If an individual is found guilty of distributing child pornography under section 163.1(3) of the Criminal Code, they may be found guilty of an indictable offence and resultingly liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years and a term not shorter than one year. Or, the London Crown may elect to proceed by summary conviction, which would result in the individual being liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years less a day and no less than six months.
Possession of Child Pornography – s. 163.1(4)
The offence of possession applies to any individual who possesses texts, images, or videos that are child pornographic in nature. Viewing a text, image, or video online is not sufficient to prove possession. The London Crown must prove that the accused had control and knowledge of the text, video, or image depicted. As well, the act of possession begins when the accused initiates the downloading of the child pornography file.
If an individual is found guilty of possession of child pornography, the London Crown can elect to proceed by either indictment or summary conviction. If the Crown chooses to proceed by indictment, the accused will be liable to imprisonment for a term that does not exceed gives years and to a term that is not less than six months. If the London Crown elects to proceed by summary conviction, the accused will be liable for a term of imprisonment that is no longer than 18 months and to a minimum term of imprisonment of 90 days.
Accessing Child Pornography – s. 163.1(4.1)
Section 163.1(4.2) explains that a person who access child pornography is an individual who knowingly transmits or views child pornography. The accused must know that nature of the materials are child pornography or be wilfully blind to the nature of the materials. This offence is separate from the offence of possession since the material is not possessed but is viewed instead.
Every individual who accesses child pornography may be guilty of an indictable offence and will be liable to a term of imprisonment not longer than five years and to a term of imprisonment of at least six months. If the London Crown chooses to instead proceed by summary conviction, the accused will be liable to imprisonment for a term no longer than 18 months and no shorter than 90 days.
What if the Child Pornography Materials are Deleted?
The fact that a child pornography file has been deleted does not nullify or alter the initial possession of the files. However, if an individual quickly deletes child pornography files, this may suggest to the judge that there was an intention by the accused to prevent sharing of the files. If the child pornography file has been deleted but it is not overwritten and can still be recovered, a Crown attorney seeking to prove possession will likely have to establish that the individual knew that the child pornography materials were still accessible and that the individual knew how to access them.
Can Written Materials be Considered Child Pornography?
Yes, written materials may be considered child pornography. Sections 163.1(1)(b) and 163.1(1)(c) explain that written materials are included in some definitions of child pornography. If a written material advocates or counsels sexual activity with an individual between the ages of zero and seventeen, it is considered child pornography. As well, a written material which has a dominant characteristic of describing sexual activity with a person aged zero to seventeen for a sexual purpose is also considered child pornography.