SELECTED CASE LAW
In 2014 MBPC 63, two 17-year-old twin brothers Mr. NG and Mr. FG used social media to bully and sexually exploit a 14-year-old girl. Mr. NG and Mr. FG pled guilty to invitation to sexual touching, possession of child pornography, distribution of child pornography, and transmission of sexually explicit material to a child.
An 18-year-old man, Mr. ZM, initially coerced the victim into taking nude photographs of her-self. Mr. ZM communicated with the victim over social media and threatened to “do something to her” if she did not comply with his demands. After the victim sent Mr. ZM a photo of her breasts, ZM threatened to distribute the photographs if she did not send him more. She com-plied, sending photographs of her genitals and breasts. Mr. ZM then told Mr. NG and Mr. FG, the accused twins, about how he had been able to extort photos from the victim online. The twins began communicating with the victim, and demanded that she also send them explicit images. When the victim eventually sent photographs of herself, Mr. FG and Mr. NG distributed those photos to people in her community, including her classmates. The photographs showed her face, as well as her genitals and breasts.
Although the victim did not file a victim impact statement, her mother filed a statement on behalf of the family. This statement indicated that the victim stopped eating, grooming, and sleeping as a result of the offences.
At trial, the Court recognised that the offenders’ actions were violent and had caused the victim bodily harm:
The psychological damage to the victim is long-term and profound. Her reputation in the community has been damaged and she has been ridiculed at school. Given the difficulty in controlling the use of images, once they enter cyberspace, the harmful impact on the victim may well be long-term.
Accordingly, the trial judge determined that a custodial sentence was available and sentenced the brothers to 16 months of secure custody, followed by 8 months of community supervision and a year of probation. The Manitoba Court of Appeal varied this sentence to 12 months of secure custody, 6 months of community supervision, and 6 months of probation to bring the sentence in line with the 2-year maximum sentence available under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. The Court of Appeal unanimously held:
[…] the moral culpability of the appellants in this case is on the high end of that spectrum. First, there was a significant age difference between the appellants and the victim. Second, the conduct engaged in by the appellants was not childhood exploration. It was aggressive, relentless, sexually abusive and humiliating. The images were extracted from the victim in a systematic manner by the appellants causing her to virtually break down. Third, the images included the victim’s face, breasts and vagina. They were distributed by way of social media to her community. Fourth, as can be expected, the victim and her family continue to suffer the effects from the commission of these offences.
Also see 2015 MBCA 81 (Appeal decision).
 2014 MBPC 63 at 41.
 2014 MBPC 63 at 37.