Remaining eight referred to youth protection
By Robert Frank
The Crown prosecutor has dropped charges against two of the ten teenage boys whom Laval Police charged with producing, possessing and distributing child pornography, Nov. 14.
“With respect to those two [boys], there was insufficient evidence to proceed,” Crown prosecutor spokesman Jean Pascal Boucher told The Suburban. “Therefore their file was closed. The eight others received extrajudicial punishments.”
Canada’s Youth Criminal Justice Act permitted the teens to take responsibility for their actions without having to plead guilty to the criminal charges. Instead, the court assigned youth workers to supervise their punishment.
“The file will be back in court between mid-December and mid-January, in order to assess whether the judicial consequences were indeed met,” Boucher said in an interview.
Police said last year that the highly publicized dawn arrests were meant to send a message to the youth.
However, The Suburban subsequently learned that the charges had the opposite effect, and turned the boys into heroes among their peers.
The newspaper also learned that Sir Wilfred Laurier School Board officials, who expressed dismay at how the justice system shunted them aside, issued a gag order barring staff from discussing the arrests.
The case attracted worldwide attention and raised important questions of jurisprudence, since Canada’s child pornography law is aimed at protecting youth from adult predators.
In addition, although Canadian law is supposed to treat both sexes equally, only the boys, aged 13-15, were charged with being child pornographers. None of the seven girls who took the saucy photos faced criminal sanctions.
Laval Police told The Suburban that none of the girls were coerced or threatened or intimidated into sending the photos, and that juvenile prostitution—which remains a serious problem in Laval—was not involved in this case.
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