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Penticton man sentenced for child pornography distribution

Penticton court briefs. - Submitted Photo
Penticton court briefs.
— image credit: Submitted Photo

An international child pornography sting has a Penticton man behind bars for 291 days.

Mark Henry Snowden, born in 1962, was found guilty of importing or distributing and possession of child pornography. During a police investigation into child pornography in San Jose, Cali., photos found distributed online were linked to an IP address at a residence on Weyburn Street in Penticton.

During evidence heard at the trial, RCMP said they seized a computer in a makeshift basement bedroom that Snowden rented on Feb. 3, 2012. Investigators found 124 images and 40 videos deemed to be child pornography, some of which showed beastiality and images and videos of children estimated to be as young as three years old being sexually abused. During an initial search Mounties also found pictures of females, including children, taken at a beach from a distance by Snowden.

It was determined Snowden had shared 74 images online through a chat service and falsely described one of the images as being his own daughter. In one of the chats Snowden believed he was talking to a child who told him she wanted to have sex with her own father and Snowden told her how to proceed in doing that.

Defence council, James Pennington argued comments Snowden made on the chat board were made out of "bravado, role play and fantasizing." He also suggested that many photographers make their living taking photos at the beach.

"I can tell you right now I would not want Mr. Snowden taking pictures of my children on the beach," said Judge Gregory Koturbash.

Snowden told the court he was remorseful. The timing of which Koturbash questioned as "damage control." With no previous criminal record and because Snowden never sexually assaulted a child himself, he was labelled as a low to moderate risk to repeat.

Snowden must abide by strict conditions during a three-year probation including not having a phone capable of internet or texting, he cannot own a camera, be in control of any electronic devices capable of accessing the internet, including gaming consoles, memory cards or any other device that he can copy digital images or videos on to. Crown counsel won an application to keep Snowden out of playgrounds, school grounds, community centres and pools for 10 years once he is released from jail. He must also inform his probation officer of anyone he enters into a relationship with that has a child under the age of 16 for the duration of his three-year probation.

Snowden was sentenced by joint submission to one year in jail on the first count, but was given 74 days enhanced credit for time spent in custody while awaiting sentencing. On the second charge he was sentenced to 120 days in jail to run concurrent.

Appearing via video on Tuesday at the Penticton courthouse, Snowden, who will be on the sex offender registry for life, said he plans to reside in Kelowna following his release.

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