FIRST OFFENDER? DEFEND CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CHARGES IN PETERBOROUGH.  1-866-DEFENCE.

If you have been charged with a child pornography offence in Peterborough it is important to protect your rights as soon as possible. The most effective way to accomplish this is often to consult with experienced legal counsel. Donich Law can assist you in protecting your rights throughout the court process to ensure you receive the best outcome in your case.

Child pornography offences can be particularly difficult to defend due to the type of evidence collected by law enforcement. Law enforcement agencies all over North America and aboard utilize sophisticated computer software, experts and forensic computer programs to track down and gather evidence on those suspected of accessing or trading child pornography online. This evidence is often quite credible and can be difficult to refute.

Donich law has experience utilizing experts of our own as well as computer forensics to analyze information gathered on our clients. This helps us ensure all of our client’s rights are protected throughout the process.

In addition to child pornography offences, Donich Law also has experience regularly defending those charged with other sexual offences including sexual interference, sexual assault, child luring, invitation to sexual touching, sexual exploitation and indecent exposure.

In 2020, Donich Law represented an individual charged with distribution of child pornography after allegedly sharing files with a user in Europe in R. v. M.C. [2020]. Law enforcement officials from Europe and the United States provided information to Canadian law enforcement who ultimately arrested the accused. After some litigation the Firm was able to secure the withdrawal of all charges against the accused.

In 2017, Donich Law defended an individual charged with distribution of child pornography in R. v. J.A. [2017]. The Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) Unit of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) investigated the individual after receiving a tip from the National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre (NCECC) and the FBI in the United States. The Firm combined risk management, negotiation and litigation to have the charges against the accused ultimately withdrawn.

If you have been charged with a child pornography offence or have had a search warrant executed on your home or other property it is important to contact qualified legal counsel right away. Donich Law has experience defending those charged with child pornography and other sexual offences and regularly obtains positive results for our clients.

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.

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Legal Information

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Child Pornography?
What are the Different Child Pornography Offences?
-Accessing Child Pornography
-Possession of Child Pornography
-Distribution of Child Pornography
-Making Child Pornography
How to Beat a Child Pornography Charge in Peterborough?
-Private Use
-Innocent Possession
-Public Good
What are the Maximum Penalties Associated with a Child Pornography Conviction in Peterborough?
-Possession of Child Pornography 
-Accessing Child Pornography
-Distribution of Child Pornography
-Making Child Pornography
What is a SOIRA Order?

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 Pornography?

Section 163.1(1) of the Criminal Code outlines the definition of child pornography. It states that child pornography is;

  • Any video, photograph, film or other visual representation, whether or not it was made by electronic means,
    • That shows someone who is under the age of eighteen or is depicted as being under the age of eighteen and is engaged in or depicted as engaging in sexual activity, or
    • Where the dominant characteristic of which is the depiction, for a sexual purpose, is of the anal region or a sexual organ of an individual who is under the age of eighteen
  • Any audio recording, written material or visual recording that advocates or counsels sexual activity with an individual under the age of eighteen that would be a criminal offence under the Criminal Code, or
  • Any audio recording that has as its dominant characteristic the presentation, description or representation, for a sexual purpose, of sexual activity with an individual who is under the age of eighteen that would be a criminal offence under the Criminal Code, or
  • Any written materials whose dominant characteristic is the description, for a sexual purpose, of sexual activity with an individual who is under the age of eighteen that would be a criminal offence under the Criminal Code

The definition of child pornography provided by the Code is very broad and encompasses virtually any materials that show or depict sexual activity of any kind with an individual under the age of eighteen.

What are the Different Child Pornography Offences?

There are four different child pornography offences in the Criminal Code. They include; accessing child pornography, possessing child pornography, making child pornography and distribution of child pornography.

Accessing Child Pornography

An individual is guilty of accessing child pornography when they access child pornography materials of any kind. An example of accessing child pornography would be viewing the materials online without downloading them or taking possession of them.

Possession of Child Pornography

An individual is guilty of possession of child pornography when they have possession of child pornography materials. An example of possession of child pornography is an individual downloading child pornography material from the internet and saving them on an electronic device.

Distribution of Child Pornography

An individual is guilty of distribution of child pornography when they transmit, distribute, sell, make available, advertise, import, exports or possess for the purpose of transmission, distribution, sale, making available, advertising or exportation any child pornography materials. An example of distribution of child pornography is an individual sending child pornography materials to another individual online or posting the materials on a website for others to view.

Making Child Pornography

An individual is guilty of making child pornography when they publish, print, make or possess for the purpose of publication any child pornography materials. An example of making child pornography would be an individual videotaping a child engaging in sexual activity with an adult.

How to Beat a Child Pornography Charge in Peterborough?

Child pornography offences can be particularly difficult to defend due to the sophisticated investigative techniques used by law enforcement officials. In Ontario, the Internet Child Exploitation Unit (ICE) of the OPP investigates those suspected of accessing or trading child pornography materials online. Evidence is gathered through the use of sophisticated forensic computer software and computer experts. This evidence can be difficult to refute. As a result, it is important to formulate a unique defence in every case based on the allegations and evidence in the possession of the Crown.

In Peterborough and throughout Ontario, there are three defences used in child pornography cases. These defences include private use, innocent possession and public good.

Private Use

The defence of private use is an exception created to ensure children who take nude photos of themselves are not charged with child pornography. An individual charged with child pornography may argue private use where the materials were created for private use, by the individual shown in the materials and in possession of the materials and where the sexual activity depicted in the materials is legal.

Innocent Possession

The defence of innocent possession may be used in circumstances where an individual possessed child pornography material for an innocent purpose. Examples include possessing materials to destroy them or to hand them over to law enforcement. To advance this defence successfully the accused must present evidence to the Court that shows that their intention was to destroy the materials or surrender it to police.

Public Good

The defence of public good may be used where an individual possessed or accessed child pornography materials for a legitimate purpose related to the administration of justice. The materials must not have posed an undue risk to an individual under the age of seventeen or the defence will not be successful.

In many cases none of these defences will be appropriate. In these situations, it is important to have experienced legal counsel on your side to assist in putting forth possible Charter challenges and any other techniques appropriate to fight the allegations.

What are the Maximum Penalties Associated with a Child Pornography Conviction in Peterborough?

Child pornography offences are among the most serious criminal offences an individual can be charged with. This is reflected in the lengthy maximum prison sentences that accompany a conviction. In addition to lengthy maximum prison sentences, there are also minimum sentences that are applicable to those who are convicted of child pornography offense.

Possession of Child Pornography

Possession of child pornography is a hybrid offence which allows the Crown to elect to proceed summarily or by indictment, depending on the nature and severity of the allegations. In more serious cases the Crown will proceed by indictment and in all other cases summarily. This election will determine, among other things, the maximum and minimum penalties that will be applicable upon conviction.

Where the Crown proceeds by indictment an accused will face a maximum of ten years in prison and a minimum of one year in prison. Where the Crown proceeds summarily, an accused will face a maximum of two years less a day in prison and a minimum of six months in prison.

Accessing Child Pornography

Accessing child pornography is a hybrid offence. This allows the Crown to elect to proceed summarily or by indictment, depending on the severity of the allegations. Where the allegations are more serious the Crown will proceed by indictment and in all other cases the Crown will proceed summarily. This election will determine, among other things, the minimum and maximum penalties that may be imposed on an accused if they are convicted.

Where the Crown proceeds by indictment an accused will face a maximum of ten years in prison and a minimum of one year in prison. Where the Crown proceeds summarily, an accused will face a maximum of two years less a day in prison and a minimum of six months in prison.

Distribution of Child Pornography

Distribution of child pornography is a straight indictable offence, reflecting the seriousness of the offence. An individual who is convicted of distribution of child pornography will face a maximum of fourteen years in prison and a minimum of one year in prison.

Making Child Pornography

Making child pornography is a straight indictable offence, which reflects the seriousness of the offence. An individual convicted of making child pornography will face a maximum of fourteen years in prison and a minimum of one year in prison.

What is a SOIRA Order?

A SOIRA order is an order issued by the Court to certain sex offender upon conviction. Section 490.011(1)(a) of the Criminal Code provides a list of designated sexual offences. Individuals who are convicted of one of these designated sexual offences will be required to register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Information Registration Act (SOIRA) on a mandatory basis. A SOIRA order, which is issued by the Court during sentencing, requires the offender to register as a sex offender under the Act for ten years, twenty years or life.

Quick Facts

What is the Difference Between Possessing and Accessing Child Pornography?

An individual will be charged with accessing child pornography when they look at, or access in some other way, child pornography. For example, an individual browsing child pornography online will be guilty of accessing child pornography. An individual will be charged with possession of child pornography when they take possession of the materials, meaning they have the ability to control the materials. An individual is in possession of child pornography when they download and save child pornography materials.

What is Distribution of Child Pornography?

An individual has committed the offence of distribution of child pornography when they make available, transmit, distribute, advertise, sell, import, export or possess for the purpose of distribution, making available, transmission, sale, advertising or exportation any child pornography materials.

What is Making Child Pornography?

An individual has committed the offence of making child pornography when they make, publish, print or possess for the purpose of publication any materials that can be considered child pornography materials.

Will I go to Jail for Child Pornography?

Yes. Virtually all adults convicted of child pornography offences will be sentenced to a period of incarceration. All child pornography offences have mandatory minimum sentences, with the lowest minimum sentence being six months. This means that in the vast majority of cases, those convicted of child pornography are sentenced to a minimum of six months in prison.

Can I Travel with a Child Pornography Conviction?

Travel outside of Canada with a criminal record of any kind can be difficult. This is true even more so for those with a history of sexual offences against children. Many nations around the World, especially the United States, will refuse entry to those with a criminal history.

What if the Child Pornography Materials were Deleted?

An individual will be guilty of possession of child pornography even if they deleted the materials from their electronic device(s). An individual who was in possession of child pornography material at any time has committed an offence and may be charged.

What if I Accidentally Clicked on Child Pornography?

Generally, law enforcement will not arrest and charge an individual who clicked on one file, one time, by accident. If, however, an individual searched child pornography and then clicked on only one file, they may be charged with accessing child pornography.

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