Penticton man’s ‘curiosity’ for child porn brings jail term

Crown counsel calls images some of the worst you can see

A Penticton man was sentenced to 90 days in jail for possession of child pornography.

Barry Dickson, 61, said his curiosity got the better of him, tempting him to download child pornography images and a graphic novel depicting child pornography.

“This is a case, I would say, of curiosity killing the cat,” said Judge Gale Sinclair during the sentencing on Tuesday.

In 2009, an investigation was launched by the B.C. RCMP Integrated Child Exploitation team after an agency out of Germany alerted them of a provider in Canada supplying child pornography from a peer-to-peer file sharing network. Mounties raided Dickson’s home in May 2010, where two computers and a number of media storage devices were seized.

The court heard Dickson admitted to RCMP that they would find a lot of strange stuff because he “likes strange porn stuff, like snuff.” At the time, he told police he was not a pedophile, rather he was just curious and was deleting the images after he viewed them. During the investigation, RCMP found Dickson was using a program called Evidence Eliminate to erase the files, but remnants of the files and the man’s search terms were found with RCMP forensic software.

Crown counsel Catherine Crockett said one hard drive RCMP found had 806 unique images classified as child pornography by the Criminal Code, 53 images of child nudity that do not meet the code definition, 106 photos of clothed children posing surreptitiously, 4,065 adult porn images and 31 images displaying bestiality.

“I have seen worse that were bondage … but these are some of the worst you can see, given the young age,” said Crockett.

Search terms were also recovered that revealed Dickson was looking for images that involved babies and toddlers under two years.

“This is not a victimless crime,” said Crockett, who has prosecuted similar cases. “I can’t tell you how many times I have seen the same pictures. They are sort of traded around like baseball cards, and this will never end for these kids.”

Crockett told the court that Canada is second only to the U.S. in countries that are involved as hosts of these types of images. She said RCMP know that at least 2,400 people in B.C. are involved in this type of file sharing, including 27 in Penticton and 126 in Kelowna.

“That is just what RCMP are able to monitor. The actual numbers are significantly higher,” said Crockett, who was asking for a six-month sentence and three years probation for Dickson.

Defence counsel Clarke Burnett said his client wasn’t aware the graphic novel was illegal to possess, and the pre-sentence report found Dickson was a low risk of sexual recidivism.

“To this day he struggles with why curiosity got to him and why he was drawn back to look,” said Burnett. “He is ashamed and embarrassed.”

“You should be,” responded Judge Sinclair.

Dickson received 90 days with three years probation, to be served intermittently on weekends starting Sept. 7. A number of conditions were also imposed on Dickson, who is not to possess or use any device to access the Internet except in the workplace, allow any peace officer or probation officer to access his residence to look at any devices, have no contact with persons under 18, advise any person he is dating or living with of the conviction, and not to be present in a public park, swimming area, daycare, playground or community centre where a person under 18 may be. Dickson will also be on the sex offender registry for 10 years.