Saturday, March 27, 2010
Judge boosts jail time for child pornographer in Calgary
Lawyer had suggested two year term
C omplaining the courts have been too lenient in punishing child pornographers, a judge has sent a 34-year-old Calgary man to prison for three years.
"In my view, we have been too lenient in regards to this offence," said Queen's Bench Justice Ged Hawco, who rejected the proposal for a two-year sentence for Giuseppe Antonio Secreti.
Hawco called the photos and videos of pre-pubescent children in Secreti's possession "disturbing, degrading and abusive."
"These were taken primarily by men who are predators and sexual deviants," said Hawco. "It is so sad to think of what will become of these young girls, both physically and mentally."
Secreti, who pleaded guilty this week to possession and distribution of child pornography, was caught after trading the material online with an undercover police officer in New York in January 2007.
Special agent Rosanna Licitra of the Department of Homeland Security contacted Canadian authorities after she received a file through Google Hello Chat from Secreti containing more than 50 images of kiddie porn.
The e-mail address was traced to Secreti in Calgary.
Police searched his residence on May 27, 2008, and found 374,238 pornographic images and 1,676 videos. Of those files, 5,316 images and 49 videos contained child pornography.
Kevin Brookwell, Calgary Police Service spokesman, applauded the judge's ruling.
"This crime is not acceptable in society, and the sentences imposed in the past are not enough of a deterrent to change people's attitudes to not engage in this activity," said Brookwell.
"We support and applaud the judge for recognizing typical sentencing is not enough."
Hawco balked at the two-year joint proposal by Crown prosecutor Jenny Rees and defence lawyer Tonii Roulston, who had made the offer after thoroughly reviewing case law and Secreti's personal circumstances. He has no prior criminal record.
The lawyers returned on Thursday and gave further reasons, but Hawco rejected them.
Rees said outside court the proposal was reasonable but added "sentences for child pornography have been increasing a lot" since minimum sentences were introduced in November 2005.
"There were no cases at that time on distribution with a higher sentence," she said. "The justice reviewed recent cases and felt a higher sentence should be imposed."
Roulston declined to say whether the sentence would be appealed, but said as she left court, "I will see what our position is. . . ."
Hawco ordered Secreti to be registered as a sex offender for 20 years and for the rest of his life never visit any park, swimming pool, playground or other public place where children are likely to be present.
The offender must also supply a sample of his DNA for the national offenders databank.
I disagree with what the Judge said in that sentences lately have not been as much of a deterrent. Maybe he should do some research and come to the realization that NO SENTENCES ARE EFFECTIVE IN DETERRENCE! Research has proven that sentences do not deter future or potential criminals from committing the crime, but the prospect of getting caught, does. We need to deter criminals in ways other than sentencing.
I disagree with the 3 year sentence for this man. He has no prior record and did not physically harm anyone and he pleaded guilty, acknowledging what he did. I think this man needs rehabilitation primarily. If I were the Judge, I would have sentenced him to one year provincial prison and 3 years probation with strict conditions, counseling and rehab programs.