New Child Porn Arrests in the Rehtaeh Parsons case

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Rehtaeh Parsons, a Halifax teen who had been terrorized for months by cyber-bullies after being allegedly sexual assaulted, succumbed to injuries in April 2013 after attempting suicide. It is alleged by Parson’s family that she was sexually assaulted at an alcohol-fueled party by a group of boys when she was 15. During the gang-rape, the boys had allegedly taken pictures of the purported assault and shared it online. The case has attracted international attention after her parents had publicly revealed the torment their daughter had suffered for months at the hands of cyber bullies, and what they believe led to her untimely death.

Following an outpouring of public support to the family, immense pressure from advocacy and grassroots groups was laid on the police to launch a full-scale investigation. The calls to take a hardline stance against the alleged perpetrators came after Halifax Police and RCMP were criticized for not channelling their available resources to bring closure to a heart-broken community. While the two men have been formally charged with making child pornography, they were not charged with sexual assault as “evidence did not meet the threshold.” Initially, the Halifax Police had not laid any charges against the young men because they did not have sufficient evidence.

Edward Prutschi, an expert legal commentator and partner at Adler Bytensky Prutschi Shikhman criminal law firm, was a special guest on NewsTalk 1010 with Jerry Agar to discuss this tragic case that has made headlines around the world. Mr. Prutschi talks about child pornography charges and those who enter the criminal realm in regards to it. They fall under four categories: (i) those who are actively participating in it; (ii) those who are involved in its production; (iii) those who distribute it, and (iv) those who are in possession of it. Mr. Prutschi concedes that there is a ”bizarre quirk” when it comes to what constitutes child pornography in that the age of consent (which is 16 years of age) and what age a child enters adulthood are not congruent. Listen to Mr. Prutschi talk about this fascinating case by clicking the media piece above.

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