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Defend Child Pornography Charges

Crime Statistics

In 2019 the Cobourg Police Service reported there were 25 sexual offences in Cobourg, dropping to 21 in 2020, and 27 in 2021. The offence of child pornography is often reported in crime statistics as “other criminal offences.” The Durham Regional Police reported 6,194 cases of other criminal offences in 2019, 4,535 cases in 2020, and 5,471 cases in 2021. In addition, both the Durham Regional Police and the Cobourg Police Service collaborate with the Ontario Provincial Police Child Sexual Exploitation unit to catch predators who may be online. There were 11,790 cases of child pornography cases discovered nationally  in 2021.

Sex Offences Solved in 2019
Sex Offences Solved in 2020
Sex Offences Solved in 2021
Child Pornography Cases in 2021

Our Experience

Donich Law is one of the few Firms to have defended international child pornography charges. The Firm’s results have been guilt on its background in cybersecurity. If you are arrested, you can expect to be placed on specific prohibition orders restricting your contact with children. It’s also important to get a publication ban quickly to protect your reputation.

As sexual offences involving children, child pornography offences are some of the most serious offences a person can be charged with in Oshawa, Ajax, and Bowmanville. A child pornography charge will result in serious legal penalties including jail time and can negatively affect an individual’s mental health, reputation, ability to travel, employment, and relationships. For these reasons, it is crucial for anyone charged with a child pornography offence to hire experienced counsel as soon as possible. Our Firm has successfully defended people in Oshawa, Ajax, and Bowmanville who have been charged with child pornography offences and can assist you as well.

Jordan Donich has attended Police Internet Crime (ICE) Headquarters and been trained on their forensic software used for categorizing various child pornography images and videos.

  • Donich Law represented one of seven individuals around the world accused of possessing, accessing, and disseminating child pornography together in R. v. E.Z. [2022]. This defendant had already been found guilty of possessing child pornography once before, and the Crown was pushing for a lengthy prison sentence. However, after identifying a crucial mistake in the information law enforcement officers had relied upon to obtain a search warrant, counsel pursued sections 8 and 11(b) Charter challenges and succeeded in having most of the charges dropped.
  • Donich Law defended a client in Brampton charged with sending child pornography to someone in Europe in R. v. M.C [2022]. After dealing with law enforcement representatives from Canada, Europe, and the United States, counsel succeeded in getting distribution of child pornography withdrawn. The file was litigated over a period of three years and included a Charter defence related to an unlawful search and seizure of the client’s property.
  • In 2022, Donich Law successfully defended a youth offender charged with two counts of child pornography in R. v. S.P. [2022], after allegedly downloading child pornography material. Law enforcement became aware of the activity after a well known social media website alerted them to the activity. The Firm ultimately secured a withdrawal of one count and a discharge on the other count after more than two years of negotiations.
  • Donich Law also handled R. v. H.H. [2021], a case involving several offenders from Ontario and the United States and cooperation from Homeland Security, Toronto Police, and Cloud storage providers in New Zealand. The file was one of several international child pornography investigations the Firm has defended. In many of these cases, investigative briefs will be shared between law enforcement agencies. At this time, there appears to be limited Charter protection for privacy interests outside of Canadian soil.
  • After conducting a forensic analysis of the evidence and examining the search warrant and production order, Donich Law successfully negotiated a withdrawal of the two counts of possessing child pornography the accused in R. v. M.O [2021]. The Firm was able to establish that the material in question did not meet the legal definition of child pornography possession. The Firm was later able to destroy all fingerprints and photos.

Internet Child Exploitation is a Global Problem

Donich Law - International Child Pornography Investigations we have Defended
  • In R. v. J.M. [2021], Donich Law used forensic information to put forward the rare defence of unintentional download and succeeded in getting a possession of child pornography charge dropped. To successfully advance this defence, the Crown will want technical information to support the evidence of the accused.
  • Donich Law obtained the dismissal of several charges of manufacturing child pornography, possessing child pornography, and voyeurism in the 2020 case of R. v. A.B. [2020] after forensic analysis proved that the accused could not have produced the child pornography found.
  • Donich Law successfully represented a client who was caught distributing and downloading child pornography anonymously via file-sharing software in the 2019 case of R. v. J.T. [2019]. The accused was allegedly using peer-to-peer file sharing software to download large quantities of child pornography.

Online Sex Offence are on the Rise in Canada

  • Donich Law also successfully contested and overturned a bail condition in R. v. A.E. [2019] that barred the client from seeing their child without prior approval from the Children’s Aid Society.

Donich Law has been involved in some of the biggest child pornography busts in the province and has extensive experience successfully resolving child pornography cases for their clients. Counsel works closely with forensic experts and conducts extensive analysis of digital files to find the best defences available to their clients.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How Does the Crown Prove Their Case in Pickering?

In order to prove any case, the Crown must prove the identity of the accused, the date and time of the incident, as well as the jurisdiction of where the offence happened. To prove an offender made child pornography, the Crown must prove that the accused actually made, print, published or possessed for the purpose of publishing, the incriminating material. The accused had to have intent and specifically intended to commit the act, and the accused knew or was willfully blind to the materials being child pornography.

To prove an accused did distribute child pornography, in addition to proving the identity, time, and jurisdiction, the Crown must prove that the material was child pornography defined by the law, and that the material was made available (make available) or distributed by the accused. In addition, the Crown must prove intent; that the accused did intent to share child pornography.

To prove an accused did possess child pornography, the Crown must prove that the accused knowingly possessed child pornography. In addition, the material must be proven to be child pornography.

To prove an accused did access child pornography, the Crown must prove that the accused knowingly access child pornography, or was wilfully blind to the fact that the material was child pornography.

What Evidence is Commonly Tendered in Child Pornography Cases in Ajax?

According to the principles of fundamental justice, the defence has the right to disclosure from the Crown. This ensures that the defence can give a full response at the time of the trial. The main piece of evidence in a child pornography case is often the forensic extraction report. Once the police seize the accused’s devices, a copy of the files will be downloaded. Forensic analysists will then inspect the files for child pornography material as well as to determine how much material was in the device. They will then make a report on how much content there was and to what category of depravity the subject material included. This is a highly technical process, and technical computer data often can prove it was the accused interacting with or making this material.

The Officer in Charge (OIC) of the case will provide evidence as well and may testify at trial. These officers may present forensic evidence or provide information regarding how they discovered the criminal activity or detained the person. In addition, search warrants and production orders are tendered as evidence as part of disclosure. These documents may be subject to scrutiny by the defence, as challenging these documents may come into play during trial.

Will I Be Held for Bail if I am Charged with Child Pornography in Cobourg?

The chances are very high for an accused to be held for bail in child pornography cases; only in rare cases are there exceptions. In R. v. Antic, the court described the ladder principle, for which alternative forms of release should be in accordance with. The principle states that release is preferred at the earliest possible opportunity and on the least onerous of conditions.

The release conditions with child pornography are very strict due to the gravitas of the offence. The accused cannot have a cell phone, and their internet access will be limited. Whether or not bail is denied is sometimes dependent on the Crown’s consent to release. If the Crown deems the accused too dangerous, the accused may be denied bail.

Will I Require a Surety in Durham?

Yes, child pornography cases almost always require a surety. After being released on bail, the accused will sometimes be required to move in with someone who can monitor them for good behaviour. This is called a residential surety.

The surety ensures the accused does not violate any bail conditions. The surety may also facilitate exceptions of the bail for the accused. For example, an internet ban may be varied to allow supervised internet access. The surety in the case will be the supervisor. Bail conditions may also restrict access to children; however, if the accused has children of their own, the Court may rule that they may see their children under the surety’s supervision.

Will People Find Out About My Charge?

Journalists are free to report on crime. The news and the media may take special interest in child pornography cases if the person is in a position of trust or authority or a public figure. Due to the international nature of the crime, many child pornography cases are charged during large scale police operations. A lot of information may be given to the media in press releases. Small towns may also pay more attention to these cases due to the community impact.

Operation H was one of the largest international online child sexual abuse investigations. Beginning in New Zealand, the Te Tari Taiwhenua Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), the RCMP’s National Child Exploitation Crime Centre (NCECC) and local Canadian Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) units collaborated together to rescue a dozen children. Nearly 50 people in Canada were charged with child pornography related offences.

It is possible that people will find out about the charge. The Court is a public forum, and the public is free to attend. Hiring counsel is a good way to help remain anonymous, as the accused may have counsel attend court on their behalf. In addition, the counsel can also advocate for the accused in getting a section 517(1) publication ban. This ban ensures that any details about the accused’s matter will not be released until the matter has finished.

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Recent Cases

R. v. Noonan, 2023 ONSC 3351

The accused pled guilty to four counts in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice case of R. v. Noonan. He was convicted of child luring, accessing child pornography, possessing child pornography, and distributing child pornography. The local police service received a tip about child pornography activity and arrested the accused. The accused was cooperative during the arrest and provided information concerning his e-mail, user and screen name connecting him to the child pornography. In total, the police reported 88 videos on the device that fit the definition of child pornography, along with several other images.

The Court considered several aggravating and mitigating factors during the course of sentencing. The Court considered the extremely young age of the victims of child pornography to be an aggravating factor. The Court also considered the severe offence of child luring. The offender had been attempting to lure a 13-year-old girl, and the conversations were admitted into evidence. Due to the several aggravating factors, the Court prioritized denunciation and deterrence as primary sentencing principles. The offender was sentenced to three years, along with the ancillary orders of a DNA sample, a SOIRA registration, along with a section 161(1).

R. v. Sowell, 2023 ONCA 398

The appellant in the Ontario Court of Appeals case of R. v. Sowell sought to appeal a trial judge’s indeterminate sentence. The offender pled guilty to sexual interference, child luring, making, and possessing child pornography. Thousands of images and videos of child pornography was discovered on the offender’s devices, and three victims were identified. With a prior criminal history as well as a history of breaching statutory orders, the offender attempted to lure children once more in 2016. The offender was designated a dangerous offender.

The sentencing judge imposed an indeterminate sentence as he deemed the offender was too dangerous for rehabilitation. Psychiatrists recognized the appellant’s behaviour to be a pedophilic disorder. The offender’s criminal history as well as the breach of his ancillary orders were aggravating factors that contributed to the sentencing judge’s decision of an indeterminate sentence. One psychiatrist was more optimistic about the possibilities of the defendant’s rehabilitation, but the sentencing judge was not confident in the possibility of that, and stated the importance of protecting potential victims. The appeal was dismissed.

R. v. Cooper, 2023 ONSC 875

The accused pled guilty to ten counts of child pornography offences in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice case of R. v. Cooper. Using false social media accounts and false identities, the defendant made and distributed images of child pornography to young girls, who he then lured to make more child pornography for him. The offender gained the trust of these children and have sexual exchanges with them online.

During sentencing, the Court considered several aggravating and mitigating factors. One of the most aggravating factors was the degree of sophistry which the crime required. The guilty plea and remorse were a significant mitigating factor, sparing victims from taking the stand. A pre-sentence report was ordered by the judge, and it showed a man who had family support. However, the offender had a lack of insight into his crime, and though he took responsibility for the offences, minimized his crimes. The defendant was sentenced to five years in prison.

About the Author

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Jordan Donich

Jordan Donich has been a Lawyer for over 10 years and is a trusted legal analyst by Canadian Media. He is as a leader in Canada’s tech sector for lawyers and developer of Law Newbie. Jordan is a Black Belt with the Japan Karate Association and trained in Krav Maga. He won a Gold Medal at 2004 Canadian National Championships and was published in the National Newspaper Awards.

Jordan has been featured in Forbes and is a member of DMZ Angels in Toronto.