Those accused in a child pornography case involving three minors in Powell River were in court Wednesday, May 5 for their initial appearance.
Two of the three accused, both female, appeared personally for the hearing, with the third, a male, being represented. The point of the hearing was for the accused to arrange for counsel. The accused male will be back in court on June 22 and the two females will be in court on May 18. At their second appearances counsel will be confirmed, charges finalized and, potentially, arraignments made and trial dates set.
Crown Counsel Ian Tully-Barr said that suggested charges from the RCMP for the distribution, possession and production of child pornography, along with conspiracy to commit sexual assault, are still under review. He said he is confident that most of the charges will go forward but that some may not. Not all of the accused face all charges.
Local business owner Maxine Van BraBant said she felt “frustration and disgust” when she heard of the crime committed in her community. Her concern inspired her to park outside the courthouse and attach signs to her vehicle asking for support for the victims and an end to child pornography.
Van BraBant came to the courthouse to express that viewing child pornography contributes to assault, exploitation, abuse and violence worldwide and those who are drawn to it should seek help. She hopes that beyond adequate punishment for any crimes committed, help will be available for both the victims and perpetrators.
“Some people will say that they’re just pictures on a computer but they’re all somebody’s kids and it’s got to stop,” said Van BraBant. “I definitely think they should serve...a good chunk of jail time and then afterwards, [when] everybody’s done their time, let’s help them as a community to prevent it from happening again.”
The names of the accused remain under a publication ban over concerns that, if known, the names could lead to the identity of the victims. RCMP did not comment on the relationship between the accused and the victims.
The police investigation remains active although RCMP believe all victims have been identified. The RCMP acknowledge and appreciate the assistance provided by the community during the investigation.