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Maple Ridge lawyer gets nine months house arrest

Pleaded guilty to possession of child porn
David Andrew Riddell.

A Maple Ridge lawyer was sentenced Monday to a nine-month conditional sentence after pleading guilty last fall to a charge of possession of child pornography.

David Andrew Riddell, 48, was also put on 15-months probation and must provide a DNA sample to police.

Judge Shehni Dossa handed down the sentence in Port Coquitlam provincial court.

Riddell pleaded guilty Sept. 9 to a charge of possessing child pornography between Jan. 1, 2015 and July 4, 2017.

A charge of making pornography – dating back to Aug. 17, 2016 – was stayed at Monday’s sentencing.

Court heard that RCMP were alerted by the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children. Then, on July 4, 2017, armed with a warrant, police searched Riddell’s home.

A USB device containing several images and two videos was found, constituting child pornography.

The judge agreed with a joint submission from Crown counsel and defence lawyer Michael Shapray calling for a nine-month conditional sentence to be served in the community.

Read more: Maple Ridge lawyer enters guilty plea to possession of child pornography

“This is a serious offence. It is a pervasive, societal problem, which victimizes children each time the images are viewed,” Dossa said.

Dossa cited mitigating factors, saying Riddell was remorseful, entered a guilty plea, has taken responsibility, undergone extensive counselling, and continues group counselling with Sex Addicts Anonymous.

She added he’s “suffered immensely” and struggled with self condemnation and depression and the loss of his law licence and the resulting stigma.

A psychological assessment said he presented a low risk for sexual offences and a moderate risk for accessing child pornography materials.

Those in court heard that the Maple Ridge lawyer had financial problems and work stress led him to accessing pornography. A doctor could not state whether Riddell meets the criteria for pedophilic disorder, and the accused has no criminal record, noted the judge.

A letter from a Fraser Health doctor also said the accused developed symptoms of depression and suicidal thoughts, although that is in partial remission.

Under his sentence conditions, Riddell has to provide a DNA sample, and register with the National Sex Offender Registry for 20 years. He can’t attend places, such as parks, where kids are likely to frequent without permission from his sentencing supervisor.

However, he can attend his son’s hockey games under certain circumstances.

He must also enroll in a treatment program as directed, and there are limits to his access and use of computers.

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