Editor's note: We have made a correction to this story that was posted ealier today
A Corner Brook man who uploaded and kept child pornography on two devices in 2016 couldn’t hold back tears as he was led out of court in handcuffs Tuesday, April 23.
Just how long Jeffrey Joseph Hunt, 30, will be in jail will be determined by provincial court Judge Wayne Gorman prior to Monday’s court appearance for the sentencing decision. It will at least be for one year.
According to the facts read by Crown attorney Trina Simms and agreed upon by legal aid lawyer Jamie Luscombe, the Canadian Police Centre for Missing and Exploited Children and Behavioural Sciences Branch of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) received a tip from Dropbox — an Internet file sharing service — of child pornography being uploaded in September 2016.
Through the course of the investigation, the upload was linked to Hunt. Three devices were seized, two of which contained six videos containing child pornography. Simms had no specifics to reveal to the court about the nature of the videos, other than it involved category one child pornography.
Hunt was charged with single counts of possessing and accessing child pornography in July 2018. Tuesday, he pleaded guilty to the two charges.
Simms recommended a jail sentence between 15 and 24 months for the first time offender. She suggested the number of videos — six in this case — does not lessen the range of sentence nor the harmful impact child pornography often has on its victims and society. Without accessing or possessing child pornography, its production and distribution would not exist, the attorney suggested Gorman consider in sentencing. Simms argued the fact child pornography has reached levels never imagined, sentencing must be reflective of its unacceptance and deterrence.
Simms also asked for a Sexual Offender Information Registration (SOIR) order for 20 years, a DNA order, and a section 161 order involving Hunt’s direct and indirect presence with people under the age of 16 and use of the internet (other than for work or education purposes). She also requested the two devices with the child pornography be destroyed.
Luscombe asked Gorman to impose the minimum one year jail sentence. He indicated the facts would have merited a six-month sentence, if the Crown did not proceed by indictment in the matter.
He suggested the low number of videos were relevant in sentencing, and suggested it reflected a brief period of time rather than the countless hours, and sometimes thousands of videos, seen in some cases before the court.
Luscombe said Hunt did not have an easy upbringing and has struggled with social acceptance. He said the pre-sentence report referred to the possibility of some abuse in his childhood, and periods of hospitalization for self harm and his bipolar diagnosis.
While taking no issues with the orders requested by the Crown attorney, Luscombe did ask for a condition allowing Hunt to access the Internet in the presence of another adult as to allow him to maintain contact with his two children who are out of the province.
Hunt declined to address the court when given the opportunity to do so.
Gorman ordered Hunt into immediate custody as he awaits Monday’s sentencing.