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SENTENCING - Child pornography - Particular sanctions - Imprisonment

Friday, April 30, 2021 @ 6:19 AM  


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Sentencing hearing for Butera, who pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography and arranging through telecommunication to sexually assault a child under the age of 16. In November 2018, the complainant, LB, was perusing an online dating application. She had a conversation with a person later identified as Butera. LB told Butera that she had a 10-year-old son and a 4-year-old daughter. Butera’s attention was drawn to LB’s daughter and his desire to touch her. Butera made offers to pay LB’s bills in exchange for some fun time with her daughter. Butera and LB exchanged cell phone numbers and he texted her from his cell phone. LB contacted the police and her account was taken over by the police. An undercover officer commenced communications in her place with Butera via his cell phone. Butera specified that he was interested in having sex with both LB and her daughter. He offered money in exchange for a visit with them. He agreed to book and pay for a room, as well as the cost of LB’s travel to the Toronto area to engage in sexual contact with the child. In December 2018, Butera was arrested and the cell phone used to communicate with LB was found in his possession. The police also seized and searched a laptop computer belonging to him. Subsequently, an examination of the seized laptop uncovered hundreds of images of child pornography. The Crown sought a total sentence of four and a half to five years’ imprisonment. The defence sought a total sentence of 27 to 30 months’ imprisonment. 

HELD: Butera sentenced to 38 months’ imprisonment. Butera, who was born in 1966, entered a relatively early guilty plea and had no prior criminal record. The court was of the view that he could be rehabilitated. Butera made repeated attempts to have LB breach the trust she owed to her vulnerable child. He maintained a substantial library of child pornography. Butera’s conduct was nothing short of shocking and reprehensible. Denunciation and deterrence were the paramount sentencing principles. Since Butera would be forced to serve his sentence in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic, his initial global sentence of 45 months’ imprisonment was reduced by 10 per cent. He was also given two and a half months’ credit for time spent in custody. Sentence: 38 months’ imprisonment; non-contact orders; DNA order; forfeiture order; 10-year weapons prohibition; lifetime SOIRA order — Criminal Code, ss. 163.1(4)(a), 172.2(1)(b), 172.2(1)(c).

R. v. Butera, [2021] O.J. No. 1369, Ontario Court of Justice, M.G. March J., March 12, 2021. Digest No. TLD-April262021010