Crown urges jail sentences on child pornography offences

Ten to 12 months each sought for two Cornwall-area men

Published on February 5, 2014
Scales of justice

The Crown has called for jail sentences ranging from 10 to 12 months for two Cornwall-area men charged with child pornography offences.

Crown Prosecutor Jeff MacDonald has asked the court to consider a sentence in the range of 12 months for Steven Ronald Bowley, age 25.

MacDonald proposed a sentence in the range of 10 months for Elliott Ross Meschwitz.

Both men were to have been sentenced Tuesday but after hearing representations from the Crown and defence counsel, Provincial Court Judge Nancy Orr said she needs more time to consider their submissions and relevant case law.

Orr will pass sentence on Feb. 14.

In court Tuesday, MacDonald said Bowley had been accessing child pornography for 12 years.

On the various computers and hard drives found at his residence there were several thousand images and videos.

Of those files, approximately 1,000 were determined to be child pornography.

Eighty per cent of the people depicted in the images were female.

MacDonald said many of the images depicted adult males engaged in sexual acts ranging from vaginal penetration to oral sex with adolescent females.

He told the court Bowley knew what he was doing was wrong but continued to do it anyway.

MacDonald stressed that accessing child pornography is not a victimless crime.

He said the court must send a message to Bowley and other like-minded persons that society won’t tolerate this kind of behaviour.

Those who download, possess and distribute child pornography make victims of the most vulnerable members of society, he indicated.

In addition to asking for a sentence of 12 months for Bowley, the Crown proposed that he receive the maximum amount of probation available.

MacDonald said Bowley should have absolutely no access to the Internet.

The Crown is also requesting Bowley be required to undergo assessment and treatment for any underlying issues and that a sexual deviancy assessment be required.

He should also be required to register with the national sex offender registry.

Focusing on Meschwitz, the Crown said a search of various computers at his residence revealed 1,369 images which police determined to be child pornography.

There were another 3,000 images of children but they were deemed not to be child pornography.

Most of the images found depicted animations of sexual activity as opposed to sexual activity involving real people.

Approximately 20 per cent of the images featured real people.

When first confronted by police, Meschwitz denied accessing child pornography, saying he wasn’t into that, but he later admitted to having a number of such images.

He said he was ashamed and was aware of the consequences of his actions.

Through his lawyer, Meschwitz said he would be willing to undergo an assessment for sexual deviancy.

MacDonald noted both Bowley and Meschwitz were extremely introverted and were lacking in certain social skills that other people take for granted.

He said the crimes both men committed were, by their very nature, highly damaging.

MacDonald noted there have been calls for much tougher sentences for those who access and distribute child pornography.

Currently there is a mandatory minimum sentence of six months in jail for possessing child pornography.

In addition to requesting a jail sentence of 10 months, MacDonald also called for further sanctions against Meschwitz similar to those requested for Bowley.