No jail time for man convicted of child porn charges

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Alex Kurial/Local Journalism Initiative

A Sarnia man convicted of possessing child pornography has avoided jail time in what have been deemed “exceptional circumstances.”
Christopher Brown, 42, plead guilty to accessing child porn images for 16 years from New Year’s Day 2003 to his arrest just before Christmas 2018. But he left Sarnia Court on Oct. 5 with a one year conditional sentence to be followed by one year of probation.
“This is a very unusual sentence. Typically this type of charge involves real jail,” says Crown attorney David Rows – who arrived at the joint position with Brown’s lawyer Terry Brandon and acknowledged a conditional sentence isn’t the expected result for a child porn related conviction.
Rows says the images Brown possessed weren’t as “intrusive or aggravating” as material that has come before the court in other cases. He added that Brown’s lack of criminal record, guilty plea, and issues around his right to a speedy trial also factored in the decision not to pursue jail time. Brown has no children but has been married for six years. His wife remains supportive of him.
Brown’s lengthy viewing of child porn came to light in November 2018 during an investigation by the OPP’s Child Sexual Exploitation Unit. Officers discovered several images and traced them to an IP address owned by Brown. They forwarded the information to Sarnia Police.
On Dec. 19, 2018 Sarnia Police officers executed a search warrant of Brown’s home at 8 am and within an hour he was arrested on child porn charges. A forensic examination of Brown’s computer found 48 images of underage children of a clearly sexual nature.
“The issue of child pornography is a very disturbing feature of society, and of course does result in very significant consequences if convicted,” says Justice Anne McFadden.
While these consequences won’t include jail for Brown, he was still given several conditions to observe. He will be on the sex offender registry for the next 10 years. During this decade Brown also cannot use any peer to peer sharing sites – sites he used to access the child porn.
“That is an important term and an effort to try and reduce the likelihood of this matter ever repeating itself,” Rows says.
“I acknowledge my guilt. I have learned my lesson… and I am very sorry,” says Brown.
Brown will also have to take sexual offender counselling for the next two years. For the first six months of his conditional sentence he can only leave his house for work with his computer service job and other limited exceptions.
In the final six months he must observe an 11 pm to 6 am curfew. Brown also can’t possess any weapons and must submit a DNA sample.

  • The Independent