Supreme Court of Canada orders new trial for alleged online sexual predator

Supreme Court of Canada orders new trial for alleged online sexual predator

Summary: Bartholomew Legare of Alberta had not met with his intended victim a 12 year old girl. In 2003, Mr. Legare aged 32 at the time of the incident, attempted via a chat session to lure his potential victim to meeting him, stating to her that he was 17.

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Supreme Court of Canada

Supreme Court of Canada

Bartholomew Legare of Alberta had not met with his intended victim a 12 year old girl. In 2003, Mr. Legare aged 32 at the time of the incident, attempted via a chat session to lure his potential victim to meeting him, stating to her that he was 17. He didn't believe he had committed a crime since he never met her. At his trial in 2006 after being charged under section 172.1 of the Criminal Code, a Judge agreed with him that he had yet to commit a crime. The crown appealed.

Background to this case can be found on court.ca. Here's a excerpt;

In April of 2003, Legare was 32 and living in Edmonton, Alberta. Representing himself to be 17, Legare engaged in two online "chat" conversations with the 12 year old complainant. Their conversations were explicitly sexual in nature. Following the second conversation the complainant provided Legare with her phone number, who then called her twice. The telephone conversations ended when Legare made a sexually suggestive remark. Legare and the complainant neither met nor intended to meet, and no sexual activity ever took place between them. Legare was charged with one count of invitation to touch for a sexual purpose, contrary to s. 152 of the Criminal Code, and one count of facilitating an offence by means of a computer system, contrary to s. 172.1 of the Code. The Trial Judge acquitted the accused of both offences. The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal in part, setting aside the acquittal pursuant to s. 172.1 and ordering a new trial. The accused now appeals that decision.

At issue is the proper scope and interpretation of s. 172.1.

172.1 (1) Every person commits an offence who, by means of a computer system within the meaning of subsection 342.1(2), communicates with;

(c) a person who is, or who the accused believes is, under the age of 14 years, for the purpose of facilitating the commission of an offence under section 281 with respect to that person.

The defence argued that some intention to commit the underlying offence must exist, and there must be some possibility of physical contact between the accused and the complaint. The Crown argued, however, that an intent to commit a secondary offence is not necessary so long as the communication is for the purpose of facilitating sexual exploitation and reduces barriers or inhibitions towards such sexual conduct. The Court of Appeal found the trial judge erred in adding a dimension of intention beyond "facilitation", and ordered a new trial to make findings on whether the accused possessed the requisite mens rea under the new definition of 172.1.

In a 7-0 decision, the Supreme Court of Canada overturned the lower court's 2006 outcome which acquitted him of the charges and has ordered a new trial. Section 172.1 was specifically implemented to deal with Internet based cyber-crimes.

The Supreme Court outcome validates the government's new law that gives hope to those that have been targeted. It's estimated that only 10% of victims of such cases are even known n Canada. Perhaps this decision will encourage more cyberspace induced victims to come forward.

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16 comments
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  • Message has been deleted.

    Lerianis10
    • Message has been deleted.

      Quebec-french
  • RE: Supreme Court of Canada orders new trial for alleged online sexual predator

    It is so strange that this court in canada can make this decsision? How can it be effetive in the context of the internet when the law as regards cyber crime is still in it's embryonic
    first stages, shouldn't we get together globally to make cyber-law effective?
    st777
    • Because both perpetrator and victim were in Canada

      Whether it happened over the internet or over the phone, doesn't really make a difference. Both parties were in Canada when it happened. Therefore, it was clearly within the juristiction of Canadian law.

      The law gets much more complicated when one of the parties is in a different country. Some countries have lower ages of consent and if the "perpetrator" was in one of those countries at the time of the communication, then he may not have broekn the law there. If a meeting was arranged and the location was in Canada, then it comes under Canadian juristiction.

      As for cyber crime law being in its embryonic stages, that's no reason to not have laws or to not enforce them. Countries make the laws and then work with other contries to try to fill in the loop-holes that arise from juristictional boudaries. Interpol plays a fine model for that and helps a lot with these laws.
      mheartwood
    • Charges in Canada

      Not so strange - the perpetrator was in Canada at the time of his offense - he's a Canadian citizen. The context of the internet not withstanding, he committed a crime in Canada and should, in my opinion at any rate, be tried where he committed the crime. If his mouse took him to Thailand or Bora Bora should make no difference. Child luring is a crime in the country where his butt was seated.

      The sun will nova before the global community can agree on internet laws. As a global community, we can't even address wording on simple documents without countries on the verge of veto'ing each other.

      I feel it is up to each country to address the behaviours of individuals within their borders; apply the laws of the country, internet or no internet.
      darklillith
      • Charges in Canada, anywhere worldwide

        It behooves me that there is so much underage salacity involved in modern Internet crimes.
        It should be law in every nation under United Nations UNICEF operations that no underage child should be allowed Internet access thus denying exposure of selves to such predators.
        Technology exists to regulate modern PCs accessibility ratings and if such is overridden by the child or other injurious party, the parents of said child shall be held accountable for providing the PC or acccessibility to one. A United Nations UNICEF chidren's database should be established and all nations required to contain all children, their names, dates of birth, birthplace and updated school information to present their access to such predator laden Internet sites.
        The children should not be allowed to access Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and such etc websites. They should have their own school or government sponsored safe and "moderated" networking/Internet websites for like ages inaccessible to such adult sexual predators.
        These "cat and mouse", "bait and switch" and "cops and robbers" games have no place over the Internets with children and their lives as it psychologically victimizes and consumes them in becoming and more often at their own adulthood dealing with psychological boredom, isolation, loneliness, depression or get a plain urge to commit a criminal tryst(thrill), they would recall and and become the next predators future youth!. So let's put technology tools, youth educational discipline and law enforcement in their proper places to to do their jobs and prevent such tragedies and transgressions from occurring to todays youth. Same with pageants and community intertainment activities exhibiting too much sexuality exposures such as The Ramsay case.
        Thank you..
        I have 15 grandkids and growing I want protected and know it can be done from my years in most aspects of developing corporate Data Processing Technologies/Management Information Systems and being a member of several Yahoo Moderated Specialized Groups.
        deafyharv
        • Absolutely

          The only problem is the lack of will and the incredible greed. The lack of will on the part of the most important players in this game - the parents. The greed? Well, without the parents pocketbook? What's the point of having the kids online?

          It is a Brave New World and not one I'm too anxious live in.
          darklillith
        • AMEN! THANK YOU! n/t

          n/t
          btljooz
  • its easy

    his 32 she was 12 its underage boom cut the guys ball
    ...
    Quebec-french
  • RE: Supreme Court of Canada orders new trial for alleged online sexual predator

    I'm no globalist, but with the worldwide nature of the Internet we must have protections in place for children. There should be no escape for someone who exploits children, regardless of where they live or where the crime took place.
    neverhome
    • Charter exists but not almost no one strictly enforces it

      You have hit on a major issue that every nation is grappling with. The United Nations has attempted such a charter for decades.

      You can find out more here:

      http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/crc/index.htm
      doug.hanchard@...
  • What we're about to see

    is a tsunami of cases involving underage sexuality, hi-tech, and the internet. It will be a field day for government agents an lawyers, who will get incredibly rich from the whole thing. Every cheap smartphone with a camera (and the new iPod nano) is a federal crime waiting to happen when it gets into a teenager's hands.

    It's a federal crime for a teenager to take a picture of themselves nude, but thousands of teens do it every day. It's another federal crime to even possess or view those pictures, which are sitting on USB sticks, smartphones, digicams, and family computers all across America. There are vast quantities of parents who could be locked up for decades on kiddie porn offenses, and they don't even know it yet.

    But they will, if the feds have anything to say about it. Prosecuting children for taking pictures of themselves has already begun, as well as prosecuting parents for owning cameras and computers that have the results of "sexting" lying around on the hard disk, just waiting to be discovered.

    What can be done? You can sit down with your kid they day you buy them a smartphone or camera, and have "the talk" with them about how important it is NOT to do anything remotely sexual with it. In terms of how badly it can mess up your families' lives, it's just as important as any talk about guns, drugs, drunk driving, AIDS, or pregnancy. Think about it.
    terry flores
    • Better yet,

      >"What can be done? You can sit down with your kid they day you buy them a smartphone or camera, and have "the talk" with them about how important it is NOT to do anything remotely sexual with it. In terms of how badly it can mess up your families' lives, it's just as important as any talk about guns, drugs, drunk driving, AIDS, or pregnancy. Think about it."<

      This is just the sort of naive attitude that youngsters love to take advantage of. Do any of you actually think that a youngster is going to HEED the advice you so sagely deliver??? [b][u]NOT[/u]!!![/b] You give them an inch and they take a mile!!!

      [b][u]NO[/u][/b] minor [i]'needs'[/i] a mobile phone!!! ...unless it is [b][u]ONLY[/u][/b] a basic phone with [b][u]NO[/u][/b] camera and [b][u]NO[/u][/b] access to the internet in ANY way!!! IF they are allowed this basic phone it should be for bonafide [b]EMERGENCIES [u]ONLY[/u]!!!!![/b]

      Heck, I was on my own with my own land line before I could use any telephone without permission of my parents or the adult of the house while visiting friends.

      What the 7734 do minors [i]need[/i] mobile phones for, anyway? Just because their [i]"parents"[/i] are too lazy to BE parents? Mobile phones have taken the place of TVs as electronic baby sitters all too often.

      Parents have been brainwashed into paying out the wazoo for little Johnny and/or Suzy to have a phone (AND a computer or unsupervised computer access) of their own that can take pictures and spread them and Lord only knows what else all over the internet and then these moronic [i]"parents"[/i] wonder why/how these things can happen to their little [i]"innocent little darlings"[/i].

      It's just plain sickening!!!!!
      btljooz
  • WHERE were this "child's" parents?

    Where were this 12 year old's parents while all this was going on???????????

    A 12 year old has absolutely NO business meeting up with even a 17 year old!!!!!!!!!!!

    Things like this would NOT happen if [i]parents[/i] would actully [u]BE[/u] [b]PARENTS[/b]!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    btljooz
  • Both were wrong in their way.

    We know that lying and deceiving is wrong however many people do this every day in order to gain something form someone else. This man lied to gain a sexual favor form a younger girl. He may have lied to her because he believed her could more easily gain his form her than someone more mature or closer to his age or maybe he prefers much younger girls however at 37 it seems quite odd in this respect and indicates that there is something wrong to some degree in his mental state or with his self esteem. However we cannot discount the fact that the 13 girl was also looking to gain a sexual favor form what she thought was a 17 year old older boy from which she knew was more mature than her. To put into perspective she was near the end of grade school and him near the end of high school, that is quite a maturity difference. What was she doing behaving this way with him? Does she not bear some responsibility in this situation?
    There are several issues to deal with such as lying, deceiving, morality and basic human needs. Both parties must be held accountable for their respective actions as defined by the moral, ethical and legal standards of the day. If we fail to deal with this issue properly, that is to consider the older man as simply a monster and the young girl a saint not only will justice not be served however these actions will continue. The girl must be made aware that her actions were morally wrong and must be punished for it in a legal way so that others her age will understand this just as the man must be punish for lying and deceiving so other like him will realize there is a consequence to these actions. We cannot prejudge their actions as much as we can prejudge own actions.
    We certainly do not need a foreign nonCanadian elected body such as the UN to impose their laws and moral standards on us. If some people are willing to accept this are they willing to accept Islamic fundamentalist moral standards imposed on themselves? What works for Canadians may not work on others and vise-a-verse.
    mario@...
    • EXTREMELY GOOD Points!

      Well, stated.
      btljooz