2015 BCPC 417

In 2015 BCPC 417, Ms. F, a 17-year-old girl, was found guilty of possessing and distributing child pornography.

Ms. F had taken a video of Ms. K, a 15-year-old girl, giving oral sex to Ms. F’s abusive boyfriend. The court noted that Ms. F did this out of jealousy and intended to hurt Ms. K, but later ex-pressed remorse for her actions. Ms. F created a fake Facebook account in order to post the image on Ms. K’s Facebook page so those on her friend list could see the video. The Court not-ed that Ms. K experienced extreme emotional distress following the distribution. It stated:

The result of [Ms. F.’s] conduct has been devastating upon [Ms. K]. The impact of its distribution caused extreme emotional distress. It had been sent to those in her school, friends and relatives. As she comments, there are likely countless others whom she does not know who have seen the image. At one point she describes schoolmates making derogatory comments to her while she was out walking. She felt overwhelmed as she experienced confusion, embarrassment and shame. There was a deep sense of personal violation as she had lost the respect of others. In her depressed state she did not leave her room for several days and contemplated suicide. She remains anxious and has lost trust in others.[1]

Ms. F’s case was differentiated from a similar case in BC where the perpetrator received a conditional sentence. In that case the photo taken did not depict sexual activity and was only shared with the person in the image and another friend. In regards to Ms. F the court stated:

For this youth, her offending conduct is not a set of circumstances that can be categorized as impulsive or unsophisticated. Her creation of a fake account and distribution of an image of a child performing a sexual act to the victim’s contact list on Facebook was a planned offence that was vengeful and intended to degrade the victim’s personal self-worth. It is a form of bullying that society condemns. This was an intentional act, with the objective of emotional harm. Her degree of culpability is high in this serious offence. While there is no doubt a discharge would be in this youth’s best interest, it would be contrary to the public interest to allow such a sentence. One does not have to look very far in this electronic age to see the abuse that has grown from technology. The image of [Ms. K] is forever available. Its distribution through the anonymity of the internet is an aggravating feature. The public has a keen interest in ensuring that offences involving child pornography are prohibited.[2]

Ms. F was sentenced to one year probation, additional orders included a no contact order and a DNA order.

[1] 2015 BCPC 417 at para 6.
[2] 2015 BCPC 417 at para 7. 

Criminal Offence(s): Child Pornography Offences, Criminal Harassment