What is Child Pornography?
There are few criminal charges that have the potential to derail lives and careers more than child pornography offences. These charges can turn your personal and professional reputation upside down and can also subject you to long periods of incarceration. If you or someone you love is facing child pornography charges, it is essential that you have a strong and compassionate lawyer on your side who will vigorously defend your case and help you to obtain the best possible outcome.
Cory Wilson regularly represents individuals facing child pornography charges and helps work towards rebuilding relationships that have suffered damage as a result of these charges.
Defining Child Pornography
Child pornography is any visual depiction of a child or minor that shows sexually explicit conduct. There are several types of actions in Calgary that can lead to child pornography charges. Those actions include the following:
- Possessing images or videos which show minors engaged in sexual acts
- Accessing or viewing child pornographic images
- Publishing, creating, possessing, or printing child pornographic images with the intention of publishing those images
- Selling, transmitting, distributing, or making child pornographic images available
What Happens Following an Arrest?
If you are arrested on a child pornography charge, it will be up to the courts to determine if you can be released on bail or if you will be held without bond until such time as the courts can deal with your charge. An experienced Calgary criminal defence lawyer can represent you at a bail hearing and ask that you be released upon conditions which are favourable and appropriate. This may allow you an opportunity to continue living your life in the most normal way possible until your case progresses through the criminal justice system.
Between the time of your bail review and your court date, you can expect that your rights to access children and the internet will be extremely limited. An experienced Calgary child pornography defence lawyer may be able to represent you at a bail review hearing and argue for the best possible result in your circumstances.
Potential Penalties upon Conviction
If you are ultimately convicted of a child pornography charge, you may be facing significant amounts of jail time. Potential penalties upon conviction for a child pornography offence include:
- Up to ten years of incarceration for printing, creating, or publishing child pornography
- Up to ten years of incarceration for selling, distributing, or making child pornography materials available
- Up to five years of incarceration for possessing child pornographic materials
- Up to five years of incarceration for accessing child pornographic materials
In addition to potential jail time, the sentencing judge in your case may require you to register with the Sex Offender Registry for a period of 10 to 20 years. Moreover, for the rest of your life, a judge may prohibit you from accessing the internet at any time, from communicating with or contacting an individual who is under 16 years of age, or from approaching a public park, school, pool, or any other location where children who are under the age of 16 may be present.
A judge typically imposes these penalties during a sentencing hearing. At the sentencing hearing, an experienced Calgary child pornography defence lawyer can be present and may advocate on your behalf. For example, a lawyer might argue that you do not have any prior history of criminal convictions (especially those that involve child pornography) and that you should receive the lightest criminal sentence which is possible under the circumstances.
Ways of Defending against a Child Pornography Charge
Child pornography charges are some of the most serious criminal charges that an individual can face. Fortunately, there are many legal defences that you may be able to raise in response to a child pornography charge in the courtroom. In all child pornography cases, the Crown prosecutor has the burden of proof. If the prosecutor is not able to satisfy his or her burden, the prosecutor will not be able to obtain a conviction against you. When defending against a child pornography charge, your lawyer may be able to raise one or more of the following legal defences in response to your charge:
- That during the course of an investigation, such as when searching a computer or other electronic device for evidence against you, law enforcement violated your constitutional rights to free speech, privacy, and freedom from invasive searches
- That during the course of a police investigation, the police were not able to demonstrate that you were the individual who was using the computer during the time when the child pornographic material was accessed, possessed, or distributed
- That someone else who resided in your home at the time the child pornographic material was accessed was actually responsible for the offence
- That you had a legitimate reason to possess the material in question, such as for scientific, artistic, medicinal, or educational purposes
An experienced child pornography defence lawyer may be able to assist you with raising and arguing one or more of these legal defences in your criminal case.