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Burin Peninsula woman sentenced on child pornography charges

Two Newfoundland men pleaded guilty to offences under the Migratory Birds Convention Act and were sentenced at provincial court in Grand Bank last month.
Grand Bank Court house - SaltWire File Photo

A woman from the Burin Peninsula was sentenced in Supreme Court in Grand Bank Wednesday, Jan. 8 to 14 months in prison for making and distributing child pornography.

In September 2019 a jury found the 38-year-old guilty on a single count of each charge.

Justice Katherine O' Brien gave her reasons for sentencing by way of a written decision.

She cited between the period of Dec. 1, 2016 and Jan. 15, 2017 the accused took a series of 18 photographs of a child under the age of 14, either naked or partially naked, and sent them to a second party by means of the internet. It was noted the child's genitals and anal region were exposed in most photos.

The Crown had been seeking a sentence of two years on each of the charges, to be served concurrently, as well as a three-year period of probation.

Counsel for the accused had been seeking a sentence of one year on each of the charges, to be served concurrently. 

It was acknowledged the accused had no prior criminal record; however, the victim's age, the fact the accused was in a position of trust over the victim, and the victim can be clearly identified in the photos, were outlined as aggravating circumstances.

Decision on sentencing

In her sentencing decision O'Brien explained she had not treated the offences as a single criminal adventure.

"A sentence of two years and four months would have been considerably more than what the Crown was seeking and it would have been unduly harsh," wrote Justice O'Brien. "However, having already found it appropriate to have the 14-month sentences served concurrently, I do not consider the total sentence of 14 months imprisionment to be unduly long or harsh."

Justice O'Brien said the sentence is two months above the mandatory minimum, adding a significant sentence for crimes involving child pornography is paramount for denunciation and deterence.

The accused received 14 months less time already served, at a ratio of 1:1.5, for a total remaining sentence of eight months and 26 days to be served.

Upon release she will serve a period of two years' probation, submit to a DNA order, and forfeit cell phones and other items seized in relation to the charges.

A lifetime order has also been made under the Sexual Offenders Information Registration Act.

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