Making a case

An unrepentant collector of child pornography told a judge Tuesday in Penticton he’ll end his life if sentenced to more than six months behind bars.

Trenton Adams pleaded guilty to a single count of possessing child pornography in June 2019 and is now awaiting his sentence.

His own lawyer recommended a jail term of 12 to 15 months, while the Crown suggested upwards of two years.

“I don’t know what the sentence will be, but I can tell you if I’m in here for more than 6 months I’ll kill myself,” said Adams when given a chance to address the hearing via videoconference from Prince George Regional Correction Centre, where he’s been held since his arrest last month after his bail was revoked for missing a previous court appearance.

“And on top of that, by all means declare whatever you want for a sentence, but once I’m done with jail, I’m done. I’m not doing probation. You guys can definitely monitor me if you want, but I’ve been on bail for three years already, living on conditions, living on terms.”

Adams, who has no prior criminal record, also maintained child pornography is a victimless crime.

“If a photo of nudity – a naked child – is being (classified) as child pornography, then we need to go online and find every picture of a naked infant having a bath and you need to arrest people who have those pictures posted because that’s child pornography,” he said.

“The reason I say it’s a victimless crime is because of the way I went about it. I did not fuel anything. I didn’t pay for anything. I didn’t talk to anyone. It was pirated content, screenshots if you will.”

Court heard Adams was reported to police after uploading two images of child pornography to his Facebook page.

The case eventually found its way to the Penticton RCMP detachment, which executed a search warrant in October 2019. The search, which focused on the room Adams rented in a home on Martin Street, turned up a trove of electronic devices.

On three of those devices, police found a total of 357 images of child pornography and nine videos.

While noting the Supreme Court of Canada has struck down a mandatory minimum one-year jail term for possessing child pornography, Crown counsel Andrew Vandersluys nonetheless called for two years to be followed by probation.

Vandersluys cited as aggravating factors Adams’ high risk to reoffend, along with his lack of remorse and insight.

“The courts have time and time again – and particularly recently – highlighted that this type of material is vile. It’s been described in some of the cases… as evil material which relies on the abuse and exploitation of children and thus is not a victimless crime but has enormous impacts on children,” said Vandersluys.

“The viewing of this material and the possession of this material fuels an industry that exploits and harms and damages children around the world.”

In reply, defence counsel James Pennington said Adams’ view of child pornography as relatively harmless is common among such offenders.

“The ones that I’ve come into contact with, in their mind it’s not a child or children they’re dealing with, it’s a photograph. It’s not a real person, and that’s why they come with the view that this a victimless crime,” said Pennington.

“Now, that’s not what the law says, but it’s to explain that his view is not unique to him. Somehow, we, the system, are not getting the message across to the public at large.”

Justice Diane MacDonald is set to deliver her decision Dec. 8.