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Criminal Law - EVIDENCE - Admissibility - Prejudicial evidence - Confessions and statements by the accused - Voluntariness

Thursday, January 12, 2017 @ 7:00 PM  

Appeal by the accused from a conviction and sentence for possession of child pornography. The accused worked as a security guard. The guards often watched movies on laptop computers to pass the time. One colleague expressed boredom, so the accused gave him a flash drive that he stated contained some new movies. The colleague plugged the flash drive into a computer and found that it contained several child pornography files. The guard reported the matter to police and turned over the flash drive. Police executed a search warrant at the accused’s residence and matched the files from the flash drive to his home computer. The accused was convicted and sentenced to ten months’ imprisonment. He appealed his conviction on the basis the trial judge erred in ruling that an inculpatory statement to police was voluntary and admissible. He appealed his sentence on the basis the sentencing judge attributed insufficient weight to the rigidity of his bail conditions pending trial.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. The trial judge did not err in admitting the accused’s statement to police. The accused was given the standard caution upon arrival at the detachment and conferred with duty counsel prior to giving his statement. Police testified that no threats were made, and no inducements were offered. The trial judge gave careful reasons for finding that the statement was voluntary. Any hope that the accused had regarding obtaining bail after giving a statement was not the product of anything said by police. With respect to sentence, the trial judge specifically averted to the accused’s strict bail conditions and described them as a significant mitigating factor in crafting an appropriate sentence. No basis for appellate interference was established. Sentence: Ten months’ imprisonment.