The offence of luring a child is outlined in section 172.1(1) of the Criminal Code.
An individual commits the offence of luring a child when they use telecommunication to communicate with a child for the purposes of facilitating the commission of certain criminal offences.
In many cases, those who are charged with luring a child are arrested after communicating with a young person online and attempting to meet with the child to engage in sexual activity of some kind. The individual is guilty even if they never actually meet the child in person.
Person A is an adult and person B is a child. Person A meets person B in a chat room online. Person A engages in a sexual conversation with person B and attempts to arrange a time for the pair to meet to engage in sexual activity.
Person A is an adult and person B is a child. Person A sends messages to person B over social media pretending to be another child. Person A attempts to arrange for the pair to meet and hang out. Person A intends to force person B into prostitution.
R. v. Sinnappillai,  ONSC 832
In R. v Sinnappillai, the offender was convicted of 2 counts of child luring after communicating with an undercover officer posing as a 15 year old sex worker. The accused arranged to meet with the undercover officer to engage in sexual activity even after discovering the alleged sex worker was under the age of 18.
R. v. Razon,  ONCJ 616
In R. v. Razon, the offender was charged with child luring after communicating with an undercover police officer posing as a 14 year old girl online. The accused engaged in explicit sexual conversations with the undercover officer, eventually attempting to make plans to meet up to engage in sexual activity.
Offence Specific Defences
In many cases, those who are charged with luring a child believed they were speaking to a child online when in fact they were speaking to an adult undercover police officer. Where an accused was entrapped by law enforcement, the court cannot convict them.
Entrapment occurs when law enforcement officials provide a person with an opportunity to commit a crime without first having reasonable suspicion that that person was already engaged in or attempting to engage in criminal activity. Entrapment also occurs where law enforcement induce a person to commit a criminal offence.
In the context of luring a child, entrapment could occur where an undercover police officer posing as a child sends a message to an adult person online asking to engage in sexual activity. If the police officer has no reason to suspect that the adult individual was attempting to engage or already engaging in related criminal behaviour, they have entrapped the accused.
Honest but Mistaken Belief
An individual charged with child luring may use the defence of honest but mistaken belief if they honestly believed the person they were communicating with was an adult. The accused must have taken reasonable steps to ascertain the true age of the young person and cannot have been reckless or willfully blind about the young person’s true age. If the accused can present evidence to show their mistaken belief was reasonable under the circumstances, they will not be convicted.