Computer crimes primarily relate to allegations that an individual has utilized the internet to distribute, access, or produce illicit sexual material such as child pornography.
Other criminal offences exist for using the internet to “lure” underage individuals to engage in sexual activity, such as exposing themselves on the internet or agreeing to meet for sexual purposes.
Child pornography and child luring charges carry with them a stigma that is long-lasting and far-reaching. In many areas, convictions receive a mandatory prison sentence.
Common Charges Related to Child Pornography and Child Luring
The area of child pornography and child luring law includes the following possible charges:
- Child luring
- Accessing child pornography
- Possessing child pornography
- Sexual assault
Punishment for Child Pornography and Child Luring
The penalties for these crimes are severe:
- Making sexually explicit material available to children – Minimum jail sentence of 6 months to a maximum of 14 years
- Luring a child: Minimum jail sentence of 1 year to a maximum of 14 years
- Accessing or possessing child pornography: Minimum jail sentence of 1 year to a maximum of 10 years
- Making or distributing child pornography: Minimum jail sentence of 1 year to a maximum of 14 years
Convictions for any of these offences also result in the offender being placed on the National Sex Offenders Registry and other potential restrictions upon release.
Frequently Asked Questions About Child Pornography and Child Luring Charges in Alberta
1. What are the best defences to child luring?
A common defence to this charge is to argue that you did not know that the complainant was a minor (under the age of 16) by proving that you took reasonable steps to determine their true age and that you honestly believe them to be of age to consent.
In instances where you were charged with child luring because a police officer posed as a minor online, you may be able to use the defence of entrapment.
2. What is the best defence to a child pornography charge?
Defending a child pornography charge is very difficult and your defence will depend on the circumstances of your case.
However, you cannot be convicted of a child pornography offence if the material was produced for legitimate reasons related to science, medicine, education, or art in relation to the administration of justice or if the material did not pose an undue risk of harm.
This defense is not always viable since the courts can still find the material unlawful if a reasonable person looking at the material can determine that it creates a physical or psychological risk of harm to children.
3. What is the National Sex Offender Registry?
When you are convicted of a sexual offence, you must comply with the Sex Offender Information Registration Act (SOIRA) that results in having your name and other personal information placed on the National Sex Offender Registry.
This can affect your ability to obtain employment as well as negatively impact your quality of life.
4. What if I accidentally viewed or downloaded child pornography?
If you have viewed or downloaded child pornography by accident you should contact a lawyer immediately. Depending on the circumstances, you may receive an exemption from charges for self-reporting.
I’ve Been Charged With Child Pornography/Child Luring. What Should I Do?
Having your name on the National Sex Offender Registry, as well as having a criminal record, brings long-term consequences. Get experienced advice at every stage from DDSG Criminal Law. Call our team today.