Pitt Meadows man, 71, pleads guilty to possession of child porn

Sentenced to 90 days, to be served on weekends

A 71-year-old Pitt Meadows man is spending weekends in jail after pleading guilty to a Dec. 9, 2017 charge of possession of child pornography.

George Angus Booth was sentenced in Port Coquitlam provincial court to three months in jail, to be served on weekends.

In reasons for sentencing given June 19, Judge R. McQuillan listed the mitigating factors for Booth, who used to work as a vehicle maintenance department supervisor at TransLink.

The judge cited Booth’s lack of a criminal record, early guilty plea, expressions of remorse, his age, his “otherwise exemplary life,” the fact that he started counselling, though it hasn’t yet addressed his offending behaviour, the fact that the images were passively acquired – sent in unsolicited texts from people whom he thought were women he was sexting with, and a minimal risk to re-offend.

As for aggravating factors, the judge described some of the material as “egregious.”

According to the judgment, Ridge Meadows RCMP started two investigations after being informed by the B.C. Integrated Child Exploitation Unit. Police got a warrant, searched Booth’s house in Pitt Meadows on Dec. 9, 2017 and found five images and one video on a USB stick that fell within the definition of child pornography. However, several images were found that didn’t constitute child pornography, the ruling said.

The judge summarized Booth’s individual circumstances, pointing out he has been married for 44 years, has three adult children, and is the sole provider for his family. The charge has been a shock to the family, and his brother says it’s out of character for him, the judge noted.

Court heard Booth started searching the internet because of erectile problems caused by diabetes and started looking at porn sites. He and his wife slept in separate bedrooms and hadn’t had sex in 10 years because of the diabetes and him working night shifts.

The judge noted Booth said he wasn’t searching specifically for child pornography, but that the images were sent via text from people whom he thought were women when he was sexting online. However, the judge noted Booth couldn’t explain to the psychologist who wrote a pre-sentence report why he kept the images and didn’t delete them, but insisted that he didn’t look at children.

The judge added Booth has now stopped looking at pornography and has accepted he’ll no longer be sexually active.

The judge also cited a pre-sentence psychological report that said Booth would occasionally look at the images, but insisted that he wasn’t aroused by them, didn’t specifically look at images of children and denied having sexual thoughts about children.

The psychologist who wrote the report on Booth listed three factors that may have contributed indirectly to the offence – prolonged lack of sexual intimacy with his wife, diabetes-related ED and high stress from being the sole provider for the family. However, the psychologist noted that doesn’t explain why Booth looked at the images several times over a long period.

While Booth pleaded guilty and appears remorseful, “… in the absence of any other plausible explanations, (the psychologist) states that one is left with the assumption that his offences must have been driven by a sexual interest in children and sexual arousal to images of child pornography,” the judge said.

In addition to 90 days in jail, Booth was put on probation for 18 months, and cannot go to any park, community centre, public swimming area, school or playground unless he has written permission from his probation officer.

Neither can he have any contact with children under 16, except his grandchildren. Booth also has to take any counselling programs ordered by his probation officer and cannot go on to any social media sites. He’s also banned from owning any weapons while on probation.

Similar conditions are in place for the next seven years and Booth also has to comply with the Sexual Offender Registration Act for 10 years.

Booth had challenged the mandatory minimum six-month minimum sentence saying that it’s cruel and unusual punishment under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.



pmelnychuk@mapleridgenews.com

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