Sometimes the law can be simply absurd. It's not like everyone in Canada doesn't know who the girl was.
A 20-year-old man accused in a high-profile case involving a teenager who died after a suicide attempt has pleaded guilty in a Halifax court to making child pornography.
The guilty plea in youth court came as his trial was about to get underway Monday morning.
The accused was under 18 at time of the offence, and his identity is protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
The case is subject to a sweeping publication ban.
|Just a guess, but it's possible that we are talking about Rehtaeh Parsons|
who claimed she was being raped while the accused took photos
The judge has also placed a ban on the name of the teenager, who died a few days after the suicide attempt. Her identity is protected under the Criminal Code, as a victim of child pornography. Again, the highest profile case of alleged rape, child pornography, bullying and subsequent suicide in Canadian history - what's the point of a publication ban?
The girl’s parents were both in court for the guilty plea.
"It's really hard to hear what they have to say and explain it like that," said her mother. "But it's also some validation that it actually happened, that he [pleaded] guilty and that's what [she] wanted all along, was validation for what happened to her."
Crown prosecutor Alex Smith, who was brought in from Ontario to handle this case, read an agreed statement of facts into the record. It described how the girl was at a house in Eastern Passage where she, a friend and four males were drinking.
At some point during that evening, the accused used his cellphone to take a picture of the girl. According to the statement, the girl was naked from the waist down. She was doubled-over, leaning out a window and vomiting. Smith said the image also shows a male standing behind the girl. He is also naked from the waist down and his body is pressed up against hers.
So, she's leaning out a window, barfing, and some jerk comes up behind her and helps himself, and neither the police nor the prosecutors considered that rape. Tell me, what's the likelihood, or even the possibility of her giving consent to sex while she is leaning out a window throwing up? Why no-one was ever charged with rape is beyond explanation.
After describing the image, Smith introduced it as evidence and asked youth court Judge Gregory Lenehan to seal it, so that no one can see it. The judge consented to the sealing order.
"None of it's enough," said the girl’s mother outside court. “But the fact that he's pleading guilty at all is some consolation."
The girl’s father was even more forceful.
"His guilty plea here today tells everyone that this was child porn," the father said. "It tells everyone the police knew child porn was being spread around Halifax and they didn't do anything to stop it."
The conduct of both police and prosecutors in this case is subject to an independent review. That review has been put on hold pending the outcome of the criminal cases. Good! They have a lot to answer for.
The Crown has withdrawn a second charge against the 20-year-old who pleaded guilty Monday. His sentencing is set for Nov. 13 at 11 a.m.