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Child pornography trial back in Penticton court

Gavel - Submitted
Gavel
— image credit: Submitted

A Penticton man was distributing child pornography through Yahoo! Messenger, alleged Crown counsel during trial on Wednesday.

Mark Henry Snowden is charged with importing or distributing, possession of and accessing child pornography.

His trial resumed this week, a continuation from June, with key testimony heard from a computer forensic expert.

Evidence already presented by Crown was that on Feb. 3, 2012, a search warrant was executed on Weyburn Street where RCMP seized a computer in a makeshift basement bedroom that Snowden rented.

RCMP testified that the San Jose, Calif. police department was conducting its own investigation into child pornography, and obtained an email address that was handed over to the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children.

The email address was believed to originate in B.C. so it was forwarded on to the Integrated Child Exploitation unit in Vancouver.

This is the division responsible for identifying and assisting child victims of sexual abuse, monitoring and prosecuting child pornography distributors and viewers.

Crown witnesses testified it was determined through the IP address that the email account belonged to Snowden.

In a video recorded statement to RCMP, which was deemed admissible by Judge Gregory Korturbash, Snowden said he was not computer savvy.

He said he was suffering from depression and later said “looking at that stuff, it was a curiosity.”

Forensic analyst Vello Kleeband took the stand on Wednesday for the Crown stating he used special software to scour the computer for common search terms used for child pornography.

He found over 100 images and 23 videos that he believed “met the definition of child pornography,” and that was without searching any deeper.

“Different nude pre-pubescent females,” said Kleeband who then went into further detail of what the photos showed.

Kleeband said he also found many photos of adult female porn and pre-pubescent females that were scantily clad or in provocative positions but they did not meet the current definition of child pornography.

The computer analyst said he also took a sampling of videos and came up with the names of girls that are commonly found in investigations of this type.

Kleeband explained the steps he took to find evidence that Yahoo! Messenger was being used to share files or photos under two or three email addresses that were most commonly used on the computer.

He also discovered that the most recently used file in Windows Media Player was dated Jan. 11, 2012 and the account “Markus” viewed a file with an explicit file name related to a five-year-old person.

In June, RCMP officers, who served the search warrant on Snowden’s residence, testified they found bills near where the computer was seized with Snowden’s name on them and found pictures of him in the bedroom.

One officer said, during an initial search of the computer before it was sent to the analyst, they found pictures that were taken of females, from a distance, at the beach in their bikinis.

The officer said the photos would start off like the photographer was taking a picture of a car and the female would be in the background, but then subsequent pictures would just be of the female.

“They were of a variety of ages, from children to adults on the beach,” said Const. Chad Parsons.

“Some in bikinis and some just clothing.

“The subjects wouldn’t have known the pictures were being taken. It just doesn’t appear that they know someone is taking their photo.”

Closing arguments are slated for Sept. 3.

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