What are Defences to Child Pornography?
Child pornography charges are some of the most serious criminal charges an individual can face. An arrest or conviction for child pornography can result in serious personal and professional consequences, turn your world upside down and can damage your relationships and reputation in the community.
When it comes to child pornography offences, the Crown prosecutor is responsible for building a credible case against the accused and satisfying all of the legal elements of the claim in order to obtain a conviction against the accused. In fact, the defendant – or the individual who is facing the criminal charge for child pornography – does not need to satisfy any legal burden or disprove anything.
In the event that the prosecutor fails to satisfy even one element of a child pornography charge or otherwise fails to meet his or her legal burden, the case can wind up being dismissed. Moreover, there are numerous legal defences that the accused (or the accused’s lawyer) may be able to argue at the time of trial.
Cory Wilson is a highly experienced criminal defence lawyer and regularly represents individuals who have been arrested and/or charged with child pornography in Calgary. We have developed strong relationships with judges and Crown prosecutors who handle these matters in the criminal court system. A compassionate lawyer can represent you at all of the legal proceedings in your case and can assist you with asserting a strong legal defence to your pending child pornography charge.
What is Child Pornography?
In order for an image or video to constitute child pornography, it must depict conduct involving a minor child that is sexually explicit in nature. It is illegal to possess pictures or videos which depict underage minors who are engaged in sexual acts. Moreover, it is illegal to view or access child pornographic images – or to possess, create, print, or publish those images. Finally, it is illegal to distribute, transmit, or sell child pornographic images or videos – or to make those materials available.
Defending against a Child Pornography Charge at Bail Hearing
If you are arrested on a child pornography charge, your case will go to a bail hearing. At that time, the court will make a determination about whether bail can be set in your case or whether you will be held without bail until your criminal case goes to trial. At your bail hearing, it is incredibly beneficial to have an experienced child pornography defence lawyer representing and advocating for you. For example, an experienced defence lawyer may argue that you do not pose a threat to the community or that you are not going to be near minors between the time of your arrest and your trial date.
Being released from custody allows you to go about your daily life pending trial. However, your activities can still be limited to some extent. For example, you will likely be precluded from accessing the internet between that time and your court date, as well as from having access to minors.
Reasons Why a Strong Legal Defence is Necessary
One of the most important reasons for asserting a strong legal defence in your case is to possibly escape serious penalties that a judge can impose upon conviction. For example, if the Crown prosecutor satisfies his or her legal burden and obtains a conviction against you, you may receive up to ten years of incarceration, depending upon the specific child pornography charge with which you are convicted.
In addition to receiving jail time for a child pornography conviction, you may also have to register online as a sex offender for 10-to-20 years. A judge may also require that you do not access the internet at any time, that you refrain from communicating with all minors who are under 16 years old, and that you stay away from locations that minors tend to frequent.
When it comes to imposing a criminal sentence in child pornography cases, a judge has the ultimate decision. However, an experienced Calgary child pornography defence lawyer can represent you at your sentencing hearing and argue for the lightest possible criminal sentence on your behalf.
Specific Defences to a Charge of Child Pornography in Calgary
If you or someone you love has been arrested on a child pornography charge, an experienced criminal defence lawyer in Calgary may be able to argue a legal defence on your behalf at trial. One common defence that your lawyer may argue is that the Crown prosecutor failed to satisfy his or her legal burden and that consequently, the pending child pornography charge against you should be dismissed in its entirety. Your criminal defence lawyer may also be able to raise one or more of the following legal defences to your child pornography charge:
- Improper investigation tactics by law enforcement, such as overly intrusive searches and possible constitutional violations that occurred during the investigation
- Inability on the part of law enforcement to prove that you were the one who possessed, accessed, or distributed the unlawful images or materials
- Existence of a valid legal purpose for possessing the material in question, such as for legitimate medical, scientific, or educational purposes
An experienced Calgary child pornography defence lawyer at Wilson Criminal Defence can assist you with advancing one or more of these legal defences at your criminal trial. Contact us today.