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German child porn investigation leads to Penticton man's conviction

Penticton man convicted after German child pornography investigation leads to his computer. - File Art
Penticton man convicted after German child pornography investigation leads to his computer.
— image credit: File Art

An investigation that originated in Germany resulted in a Penticton man sentenced to 90 days for possession of child pornography.

David Thorp, 57, was sentenced to an intermittent sentence to be served on weekends with judicial stay of proceedings on charges of accessing child porn and two counts of importing or distributing child porn.

Crown counsel Catherine Crockett said on Dec. 5, 2011 a German investigation found a user in Canada was disseminating child pornography. The results were sent to the National Child Exploitation Co-ordination Centre in Ottawa and upon further investigation an IP address linked to a computer in Penticton was discovered. Crockett said Thorp answered the door when Penticton RCMP officers attended and an initial search discovered child pornography on a computer.

Crockett said an early guilty plea by Thorp meant the computer didn't receive as thorough of examination. Preliminary analysis found 42 images and 65 video clips classified as child pornography. Crockett said because Thorp was downloading the content through a file sharing service it was a "passive" type of sharing in that other users were able to download the files from his computer as well.

In a pre-sentence report, Thorp said he was viewing the images and videos out of curiosity. However, Crockett and the psychologist, argued that because the images and videos were almost all prepubescent girls that the focus on the content was too narrow to just be a curiosity. It was also suggested in the report that Thorp did not accept the gravity of the offence, minimizing it because he was only a viewer of the content.

"If nobody looked at the stuff it wouldn't be made," said Judge Gail Sinclair in his sentencing.

Sinclair split between the Crown's request of a three year probation and defence's one year probation. Sinclair said two years would be enough time for Thorp to go through sex offender treatment. The judge said he suspects the crime had something to do with a brain injury Thorp was diagnosed with 15 years ago that caused depression and his marriage to break up.

Thorp was put on the national sex offender registry for 10 years, is not allowed to posses any electronic device that can access the internet unless it is work-related, not allowed to have contact with any person 16 years old or less unless he has permission by his probation officer or attend any public place where a person 16 years or less could be present such as a community centre or school grounds.

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