What are the Best Defences to Child Luring?

Child luring charges are among the most serious an individual in Canada can be charged with. Sexual offences involving children are investigated vigorously with significant resources poured into tracking down and arresting potential child predators. Further, those who are charged are prosecuted aggressively and routinely sentenced to prison upon conviction. In addition to periods of incarceration, those who are convicted of child luring are also required to register as sex offenders for ten years, twenty years or life depending on the nature and severity of their allegations and their criminal history.

Due to the very serious consequences that result from a luring conviction, it is important for an accused individual to protect their rights from the very beginning, starting even before the time of arrest. The best way to accomplish this is to have experienced legal counsel on your side throughout the process.

Donich Law has defended numerous individuals charged with child luring. We combine risk management and litigation to beat charges where appropriate and mitigate damage where necessary.

The offence of child luring is outlined in section 172.1 of the Criminal Code. It states that an individual has committed a crime when they use electronic means or a telecommunication device to communicate with an individual under the age of eighteen for the purpose of facilitating the commission of an enumerated sexual offence. This essentially means it is illegal for an adult to use technology to attempt to engage in sexual activity of any kind with a minor.

Having a complete understanding of the Elements of the Criminal Offence, Your Rights and the Consequences associated with a Criminal Record is necessary before any legal decisions are made.

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Legal Information

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Child Luring in the Criminal Code?
Who is Commonly Charged with Child Luring?
What are the Best Defences to Child Luring Charges?
What are the Consequences for Those Convicted of Child Luring?
-Criminal Penalties
-Registered Sex Offender
-Employment, Travel and Immigration

Additional Resources

Assault
Assaulting a Peace Officer
Child Pornography Forensics
Children’s Aid Society
Sexual Assault Law in Canada
Consequences of a Criminal Record
Domestic Abuse
First Offenders
Immigration Consequences
Keeping Charges Private
Travel & US Waivers
Vulnerable Sector Screening
Elements of a Crime
Your Rights

What is Child Luring in the Criminal Code?

The Code provides a list of enumerated sexual offences which include;

• Incest
• Householder permitting sexual activity
• Sexual exploitation
• Parent or guardian procuring sexual activity
• Procuring prostitution (prostitution related offences)
• Prostitution of a person under eighteen years
• Making, accessing, distributing or possessing child pornography
• Aggravated offence in relation to living on the avails of prostitution of a person under the age of eighteen years
• Living on the avails of the prostitution of a person under the age of eighteen years

Further, the Code states that it is a crime for an adult individual to use electronic means or a telecommunication device to communicate with a person under the age of sixteen for the purpose of facilitating the commission of an enumerated sexual offence. The Code lists the following enumerated sexual offences;

• Indecent exposure
• Sexual interference
• Sexual assault
• Aggravated sexual assault
• Invitation to sexual touching
• Sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party, or causing bodily harm
• Abduction of a person under the age of sixteen

Finally, the Code indicates that it is a crime for an adult individual to use electronic means or a telecommunications device to communicate with a person under the age of fourteen for the purpose of facilitating the commission of an enumerated offence. The Code lists the following enumerated offence;

• Abduction of a person under fourteen

An accused will be guilty of child luring if they genuinely believed they were communicating with a person who was underage, even if the person was in fact not underage. It is not uncommon for undercover police officers to pose as child online in an attempt to catch online child predators. If an undercover police officer presents themselves as a child, and the accused genuinely believes the officer is a child and engages with them in a way prohibited by the Code, they are guilty of child luring.

Who is Commonly Charged with Child Luring?

In the majority of cases, those charged with child luring are otherwise law-abiding members of society who made poor choices. Many offenders charged with child luring are first-time offenders. In many cases, older individuals become lonely and begin searching for companionship online.

In some cases, offenders believe they have not crossed any legal boundaries if they do not actually meet with the minor. This, however, is not the case. An individual will be guilty of child luring if they communicate with a minor about meeting in person to engage in sex even if the meeting never happens or the accused had no real intention to attending the meeting. In many cases, those who are charged with child luring were in fact communicating with an undercover police officer posing as a minor. Police officers often monitor online sites such as Craigslist and Backpages to attempt to catch those attempting to lure children.

What are the Best Defences to Child Luring Charges?

Child luring charges can be particularly difficult to defend in many cases. This is due to the evidence often collected in child luring cases. Law enforcement officials devote considerable resources to tracking down and collecting evidence against those suspected of luring children online. As a result, there is often copious amounts of highly credible evidence against those charged with child luring. In many cases, undercover law enforcement officials will pose as minors online and engage with those suspected of child luring. This often produces large amounts of text conversation that can be used against the accused. This evidence can be particularly difficult to refute.

One defence sometimes used in child luring cases is entrapment. An entrapment defence may be used in some circumstances where an undercover police officer posing as a child has been communicating with an accused online. While it is perfectly legal for a law enforcement officer to pose as a minor and engage with an accused online, there are boundaries that must not be crossed. Law enforcement officers may not present an accused with the opportunity to commit a crime unless the officer has reason to believe the accused was already engaging in criminal activity of that kind. This means that if the law enforcement officer has reason to believe the accused is attempting to lure children online, they may engage. It only becomes entrapment when the officer reaches out to an individual whom the officer has no reason to believe is guilty of child luring. This defence can only be used in a narrow set of circumstances.

The best defence to any child luring charge will depend largely on the facts of the case and the evidence in the possession of the Crown. Experienced legal counsel will be able to formulate the correct defence based on the evidence presented by the Crown to ensure a reasonable doubt has been created.

What are the Consequences for Those Convicted of Child Luring?

Child luring is considered a serious sexual offence in Ontario and throughout Canada. Considerable resources are devoted to gathering evidence against those suspected of luring children online. Those who are charged are prosecuted vigorously by Crown counsel, who regularly advocate for lengthy periods of incarceration for those who are convicted. In addition to prison sentences, those who are convicted of child luring will also face other consequences including having to register as a sex offender and potentially negative impacts on employment, travel and immigration.

Criminal Penalties

Child luring is a hybrid offence. This means that the Crown will elect to proceed summarily or by indictment. This election will influence many things in the case including the maximum penalties that may be imposed on the accused if they are found guilty. The Crown will elect to proceed by indictment in cases involving the most serious accusations and summarily in all other cases.

Where the Crown elects to proceed by indictment, an accused will face a maximum of fourteen years in prison. Where the Crown proceeds summarily, an accused will face a maximum of two years less a day in prison and/or up to a $5,000 fine. Those convicted of child luring are regularly sentenced to lengthy periods of incarceration.

Registered Sex Offender

Those convicted of child luring will also be required to register as sex offenders upon conviction. The Criminal Code states that an individual who is convicted of a designated sexual offence is required on a mandatory basis to register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Information Registration Act (SOIRA). At sentencing for a designated sexual offence, an offender will be issued a SOIRA order by the Court. This order requires the offender to register as a sex offender for a period of ten years, twenty years or life.

Employment, Travel and Immigration

In addition to the criminal sanctions imposed by the Court during sentencing, an individual convicted of child luring will often face consequences in other areas of their lives after their court case has completed. It is not uncommon for those convicted of sexual offences, especially those involving children, to experience employment, immigration and travel consequences.

An individual may be terminated from their place of employment upon being charged with child luring, even where the accused’s job does not involve children. Where the accused’s job does involve children, they will almost certainly be removed from their position pending the outcome of their criminal case. Additionally, those who have a criminal record for child luring may be barred from working with certain groups including children. Such individuals may also have difficulty finding employment in industries where children are not present. The majority of employers will require a background check prior to hiring a new employee and are often reluctant to hire those with a criminal history.

A criminal record can also negatively impact an individual’s ability to travel outside of Canada. Many countries will refuse entry to individuals with certain criminal histories, including the United States. Due to the severity of a child luring conviction, many countries will not permit an individual with such a conviction into their country. A child luring conviction can also seriously impact the immigration process for those who are not Canadian citizens. Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada may terminate or delay a citizenship application if an individual is convicted with a criminal offence. This is especially true when an individual is convicted of a serious criminal offence.

Due to the serious implications that often result from a child luring conviction, it is important for an accused individual to protect their rights throughout the court process. The most effective way to do this is often to hire experienced legal counsel. Donich Law has experience defending those charged with child luring offences and regularly obtains favourable results for our clients by combining litigation and risk management.

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