Monday September 01, 2014




Facing child porn charges

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A 27-year-old Yorkton man is facing child pornography charges after the Saskatchewan Integrated Internet Child Exploitation Unit (ICEU) aided by the local rural RCMP detachment executed a warrant on a residence near town.

Ryan Palumbo was arrested and charged with possessing child pornography, accessing child pornography and making child pornography available to others. He was released on a promise to appear in court April 21 with standard conditions, as well as, not being in the presence of children under the age of 16 without another adult who is aware of the charges being present; not attending public places where children frequent such as parks, swimming pools and schools; and not accessing the Internet.

Sgt. Candace Benko of the ICEU said this is the first of what the unit expects will be numerous arrests by the time the project wraps up in early May.

She said no local victims have been identified in the videos police allegedly found on Palumbo’s seized computer.

The ICE Unit uses special software that allows them to track I.P. addresses that may be accessing child porn. When they detect a pattern that they believe is worth investigating they can apply to Internet Service Providers (ISP) for a name and address attached to the computer address. ISPs are not explicitly compelled by law to provide this information, but most have provisions in their user agreements regarding releasing information about illegal activities to law enforcement authorities.

Once the name and address are obtained, investigators must apply to the courts for a search warrant to be issued.

Another Saskatchewan case that could have implications for this one is currently before the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC).

In 2007, Matthew David Spencer, then a 19-year-old University of Saskatchewan student was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography available to others.

In June 2010 a Court of Queen’s Bench judge convicted him of the possession charge and sentenced him to nine months in jail and three years probation. The Court found him not guilty of the more serious distribution crime, however, because the judge was not convinced Spencer had the “mens rea” (intent) to share the disturbing material. The defence had argued the young man did not know others could be downloading files from his computer via the Limewire file-sharing program.

The Crown successfully appealed the QB decision at the Court of Appeals, which ordered a new trial that is now on hold because Spencer was given leave in January 2013 to make a Charter of Rights and Freedoms argument before the SCC that his Charter right against unreasonable search and seizure was violated.

That hearing started December 9, 2013, but the Court got sidetracked from the Charter issue, according to the Globe and Mail’s Christie Blatchford, as Spencer’s lawyers and others representing interveners such as the Canadian Civil Rights Association and Privacy Commissioner of Canada argued the mens rea issue.


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