A Whitehorse man who pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography was sentenced to spend nine months behind bars on June 18.
The court heard that police found 123 images of child pornography and one video recording stored on computers in 44-year-old Jason William Devine’s home in May 2020.
Judge Peter Chisholm said police obtained a warrant for the search in response to a complaint from a friend of Devine’s girlfriend. The complainant alerted police after the guilty man’s girlfriend showed her a concerning video she had found on his phone.
As he detailed his decision, Chisholm noted that Devine downloaded the images off the internet and did not produce or distribute the images, putting his crime on the lower end of the spectrum of such offences. Even so, the judge called child pornography a serious and destructive crime and a pervasive social problem affecting the global community.
The judge said that while all of the images in Devine’s possession must be treated seriously, some are especially troubling and disturbing. He noted that two of the images may be described as having “sadistic qualities.”
Chisholm also acknowledged Devine’s remorse for his actions, his early guilty plea, his compliance with release conditions so far and his efforts to access counselling for mental health issues.
At the June 18 sentencing hearing, Devine’s defence lawyer was seeking a six-month jail term while the crown wanted a 12- to 14-month sentence.
Devine was sentenced to a nine-month jail term followed by two years of probation. He will also have to abide by several conditions including prohibited internet access except for reasons authorized by the court and a prohibition from seeking employment or volunteer work that puts him in a position of trust or authority toward children under the age of 16. Devine will also report to a probation officer and he will have to comply with the sex offender information registration act for 10 years.
Chisholm said the principles of denunciation, deterrence and rehabilitation could be met with the nine-month sentence and subsequent probation.
“What the court is signaling in this decision is its correct understanding that sexual offences involving children will attract strongly deterrent jail sentences, even for child pornography related offences which are at a relatively lower level of gravity,” said Noel Sinclair, general counsel for the Public Prosecution Service of Canada.
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