2014 BCPC 279

In 2014 BCPC 279, three 14-year-old boys pleaded guilty to criminal harassment after distributing nude photos of their underage female peers. The boys persistently asked girls for the photos, and were originally charged with distributing child pornography. All three boys were first-time offenders, and all expressed remorse for their actions.

Although no victim impact statements were filed, the Court determined that the girls were emotionally harmed by the disclosure of their images. The Court remarked that the original child pornography charges were unfortunate, and stated that the evidence supported the charge of criminal harassment, particularly with regard to the boys’ persistent requests for intimate images.

The Court held that a conditional discharge was in the best interests of the offenders and was not contrary to the public interest. Accepting that “the distribution of such photos is a common practice among youth today in their attempts to learn of and struggle with their own sexuality,”[1] the Court also held that the boys must keep the peace and be of good behaviour for six months. The Court further ordered the boys to report to a youth worker; not possess a cell phone, iPhone, smart phone, or other electronic device capable of accessing the internet (or ensure that picture messaging, video message, and data transmission functions are disabled) during that time; attend counselling; apologize to the victims; and complete 20 hours of community work.

[1] 2014 BCPC 279 at 30.


Criminal Offence(s): Criminal Harassment