Besides worrying about potential penalties, including long prison sentences, individuals facing child pornography charges also face severe social stigmatization. As with other sex crimes, anyone accused of child pornography is likely to lose friends, employment, and other social connections. In Canada, anyone convicted of child pornography must live with a permanent sex offence record.
Child pornography is such a serious offence that it can ruin a person’s life. In addition to limiting a convict’s career choices, the permanent sex offender’s record limits their educational opportunities, housing options, and other social and economic opportunities.
Unfortunately, since child pornography is a sensitive and serious offence, it is prone to malicious and false accusations. People with ulterior motives can use the child pornography criminal process to settle personal scores. Additionally, unless they believe there is no reasonable prospect of finding the accused person guilty, Crown Attorneys rarely drop or withdraw child pornography charges.
Child pornography charges can be complicated, long, and exhausting. Therefore, it is critical to seek the help of an experienced and skilled child pornography defence lawyer to defend your rights when facing these charges. Despite all the complications, it is still possible to have the Crown Attorneys drop child pornography charges.
Some of the most common defence strategies that experienced child pornography defence lawyers use to get charges dropped include:
1. Mistaken Identity Defense
Typically, child pornography charges involve downloading, accessing, and/or distributing related materials using a computer or over the internet. A skilled lawyer can help you challenge your identity as the person responsible for downloading, accessing, and/or distributing child porn material. It is a strong defence, especially if you can prove that the computer is shared or that you are not the only one who has access to it.
A skilled and experienced lawyer can convince the prosecution of your unintended possession of child pornography material. For example, they can make the case that the prohibited material does not belong to you, and you were unaware of its existence. However, for the mistaken identity defence to be successful, you must only speak with your lawyer. Generally, you need the guidance of a child pornography lawyer to avoid incriminating yourself in these often emotive and sensitive charges.
2. Computer Hacking Defense
Just like the mistaken identity defence, you can claim unintended possession using the computer hacking defence. In this case, you may need the services of a computer forensic expert to prove computer hacking or remote third party use, including virus and malware attacks. In this case, someone else illegally accessed your computer and downloaded or even distributed the child pornography material without your knowledge or consent.
Despite the complicated technical aspect, you should avoid speaking to the authorities about any charges without a child pornography lawyer. In most cases, the police will try to use the technological confusion to get you to admit to downloading and distributing the prohibited material. Proving computer hacking can easily get the charges dropped, as it significantly reduces the Crown Attorneys’ reasonable prospect of getting a conviction.
3. The ‘Illegal Search Warrant’ Defense
While most child pornography searches and seizures are conducted with judicial authorization or a search warrant, sometimes, the police can make procedural errors. The errors may violate an individual’s rights, hence making the search warrant illegal. For instance, the police can use unconstitutional means to obtain a search warrant, including lying.
The police may also be at fault for searches and seizures beyond the search warrant’s scope. However, a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer can use these procedural errors to defend a child pornography case. Typically, the lawyer will get the Crown Attorneys to quash the search or arrest warrant.
Quashing the warrant makes related search or seizure illegal and ultimately excludes obtained evidence, including from electronic devices that a suspect can use to download, access, and/or distribute child pornography material. Excluding the evidence helps the lawyer successfully challenge the charges, as the prosecution might lack a reasonable prospect of conviction.
4. Challenging the Classification of the Material as Child Porn
Another possible defence in a child pornography case is challenging the classification of the prohibited material as child porn. Essentially, child pornography has specific definitions under the law, including the age of the person depicted in the material. The defence can be successful if you can prove that the individuals depicted in the material are above 18 years old.
Generally, if the Crown Attorneys cannot prove that the individuals are children, then the material cannot be legally classified as child pornography. Additionally, a skilled child pornography defence lawyer can also successfully argue that the material is meant to serve an educational or scientific purpose as an alternative defence.
Why You Need a Child Pornography Defense Lawyer
In addition to the severe consequences, child pornography charges are complicated, and you risk costly mistakes without the help of a skilled lawyer, including incriminating yourself.
Child pornography accusations are also sensitive and emotive, and you may not be in the right frame of mind to defend yourself in court. A lawyer can also help you engage other professionals, including computer forensic experts, as part of your defence.
Contact a Child Pornography Defense Lawyer in Ontario
Child pornography charges can have severe consequences, including sex offender registration, lengthy prison sentences, and social stigmatization. With these accusations putting your future at stake, it is critical to have an Ontario child pornography defence lawyer who understands the technological aspect of child pornography charges.
If you or a loved one is facing child pornography charges, contact our skilled and experienced child pornography defence lawyer at Vilkhov Law. We are committed to defending your rights, including getting the Crown Attorneys to withdraw or drop the charges.