2013 ABCA 41

In 2013 ABCA 41, Mr. P pleaded guilty to accessing child pornography and luring.

He was sentenced to 90 days in jail served on weekends for accessing child pornography, and 18 months served in the community for child luring.

The Crown appealed his sentence.

Mr. P, a 41-year-old man, began communicating with a 15-year-old girl on the internet. The communication continued over several months after she turned 16 years old. He told the girl that he was a 20 year old man. He faked this by sending her photos of his daughter’s 20-year-old boyfriend, claiming that they were photos of him. The two would chat on webcam, but he never appeared in the video. He convinced the girl to appear naked and masturbate over the webcam, which she did around 10 times. The court stated that: “[w]hen she discovered the respondent’s true identity she became anxious, depressed and continues to suffer serious psycho-logical harm. She maintains a fear that computer images of her, and the behaviour induced by the respondent, exist, although no such images have been found.”1

On the luring offence the court noted:

Luring is dangerous and, as the Crown points out, serious. It involves pre-meditated conduct specifically designed to engage an underage person in a relationship with the offender, with the goal of reducing the inhibitions of the young person so that he or she will be prepared to engage in further conduct that is not only criminal but extremely harmful. Parliament has recognized that the internet has infinitely expanded the opportunity for predators to attract or ensnare children. The anonymity of the internet allows the predator to hide his or her true identity, to mask predatory behaviours through seemingly innocuous but persistent communication, and to count on the victims letting their guard down because the communication occurs in the privacy and supposed safety of their own homes. A proportionate sentence for internet luring must recognize the serious nature of this offence.2

The Court of Appeal found that the trial judge focused almost entirely on the potential rehabilitation of the accused, rather than the impact on the complainant. The complainant suffered serious psychological damage following the offence and engaged in self-harm and self-medication.

The appeal court found sentence did not reflect the seriousness of the offence. The sentence was increased to 12 months in jail for luring and 6 months in jail, served consecutively, for accessing child pornography, along with three years’ probation.

[1] 2013 ABCA 41 at para 4.
[2] 2013 ABCA 41 at para 12.

Criminal Offence(s): Child Pornography Offences ; Luring a Child