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A single month’s worth of child exploitation investigations by the Ontario Provincial Police led to 551 child exploitation charges in November 2018. The officers involved stated that they identified 834 unique IP addresses accessing child pornography during the month of November alone. Since inception of the child pornography investigations in 2006, police said the provincial strategy has resulted in nearly 21,000 charges against 5,686 people. The growth of the internet has led to an increase in the volume and extent of child pornography and Ottawa, Ontario has been no exception to the increase in child pornography incidents. In January 2019, an individual from Ottawa was arrested at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport and escorted off a plane where he was then charged with possessing and importing child pornography. In March 2019, separate investigations led to the arrest of two Ottawa individuals, one charged with making, accessing, and possessing child pornography, and the other charged with possessing child pornography.

The Ottawa Courthouse is located on the second floor of 161 Elgin Street in Ottawa, Ontario. The Ontario Court of Justice for youths and adults, and the Superior Court of Justice in Ottawa can be reached at 613-239-1153. The Crown Attorney at the Ottawa Courthouse can be called at 613-239-1200. If you are looking for information about your upcoming court appearance in Ottawa, click here.

The Firm has defended a number of High Profile Child Pornography allegations where Microsoft, 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. In the Firm’s R. v. J.A. [2017], 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. [2019].

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.

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 is Child Pornography?
Can Child Pornography be in Print or Writing?
What is the Difference between Accessing and Possessing Child Pornography?
What is the Difference between Making and Distributing Child Pornography?
What is Relevant to Child Pornography Sentencing in Ottawa?
Is it important to get Legal Advice?

Additional Resources

Consequences of a Criminal Record
Child Pornography Forensics
Immigration Consequences
Keeping Charges Private
Travel & US Waivers

What is Child Pornography?

It is common for individuals in Ottawa to have a misunderstanding of what is considered child pornography. Section 163.1(1) of the Criminal Code defines what child pornography means for individuals charged with child pornography in Ottawa. This section explains that child pornography is photographic, video, film or other visual representation, whether or not it was made by mechanical or electronic means, of youth under the age of eighteen. The Criminal Code in section 163.1(1) also explains that some types of child nudity and material that has been computer doctored to look like child pornography to be child pornography may be considered child pornography. Section 163.1(1) of the Criminal Code also prohibits the production, distribution, and sale of child pornography. It is as well an offence to access (view) and possess (download) child pornography materials.

Can Child Pornography be Written Material?

It’s important for individuals in Ottawa to note that written material can be considered child pornography. Sections 161.1(1)(b) and 161.1(1)(c) of the Criminal Code explain that written material, and even visual representations and audio recordings, can be considered child pornography. The Criminal Code deems as an offence the production, distribution, possession, and access of any written material, visual representation, or audio recording that advocates or counsels sexual activity with a person under the age of eighteen. It is also an offence in Ottawa to produce, distribute, possess, or access any written material whose dominant characteristic is the explanation, for a sexual purpose, of sexual activity with a person between the ages of zero to seventeen.

What is the Difference Between Accessing and Possessing Child Pornography?

The offence of accessing child pornography was created to charge individuals who are not in possession of the child pornography files but are intentionally viewing child pornography on the internet. Accessing child pornography requires that an accused knowingly view or transmit child pornography to oneself. Not included in the offence of accessing child pornography is “inadvertent viewing”, which occurs when the individual opens a file containing child pornography but is unaware of the file’s criminal character.

On the other hand, possession of child pornography in Ottawa requires that the accused have possession of the underlying data files in some way. Only viewing child pornography files online is not sufficient to prove possession. The subject matter being “possessed” is the file itself, not the depiction or image of child pornography that is found within the file. For this reason, it is not necessary that the accused viewed the content of the file. Rather, it is only necessary that the accused is aware of the underlying illegal nature of the file being stored. The possession of the file begins immediately once the accused initiates the downloading of the file, rather than at the time when the downloading of the file is complete.

What is the Difference Between Making and Distributing Child Pornography?

To be convicted of making child pornography in Ottawa, an individual must create novel child pornography. That is, an instance of child pornography that differs from existing instances of child pornography. Since 2008, no criminal cases in Canada have stated that downloading and then transmitting child pornography on to a disk amounts to making child pornography in Newmarket. The person who is considered the “maker” of the child pornography is the individual who controls or directs production of novel child pornography.

To prove distribution of child pornography, the Ottawa Crown must be able to prove that the accused had a subjective knowledge of the nature of the photo, film, video, other visual representation, written material, or audio recording. Proving recklessness is not sufficient. To prove distribution of child pornography in Ottawa, one of the following factors must be present:

(1) actual intent by the accused to make computer files containing child pornography available to others through the use of a file sharing program,

(2) actual knowledge by the accused to make file sharing programs available to others, or

(3) wilful blindness, which can be satisfied through proving that the accused’s file sharing program actually made child pornographic files available to others coupled with a suspicion by the accused that they had done so, but no steps were taken by the accused to determine if this suspicion was true.

Sentencing for Child Pornography in Ottawa

Offences under section 163.1(1) and (3) for making or distributing child pornography are indictable offences. The maximum penalty for these offences is 14 years incarceration and the minimum penalty is one year incarceration.

Offences under section 163.1(4) and (4.1) for possession and access are hybrid offences. If the accused is prosecuted by indictment, the maximum penalty is 10 years incarceration and the minimum penalty is one year incarceration. If the accused is prosecuted by summary conviction, the maximum penalty is two years less a day incarceration and the minimum penalty is six months incarceration.

Why is it Important to Seek Counsel in Ottawa Child Pornography Charges?

There are common law and Criminal Code defences available for individuals accused of child pornography in Ottawa. However, there is considerable litigation that surrounds the interpretation and application of these defences. For child pornography allegations in Ottawa, our team canvasses all possible areas to increase the likelihood of a successful outcome. The police often use a host of sophisticated investigative techniques to charge an individual in Ottawa with a child pornography offence. We critically analyze these techniques and ensure that all evidence was obtained with prior judicial authorization, often partnering with forensic computer analysts in order to best represent our clients and receive the most favourable outcome.

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