Crown recommends 3-year sentence for Yellowknife man guilty of possessing child porn

The courthouse in Yellowknife. (Robert Holden / CBC - image credit)
The courthouse in Yellowknife. (Robert Holden / CBC - image credit)

Crown prosecutors are recommending a three-year sentence for a Yellowknife man found guilty last year of possessing child pornography.

Russ Jones appeared in person at a sentencing hearing at N.W.T. Supreme Court on Friday.

He was charged in 2020 after a lengthy investigation with RCMP and its Integrated Child Exploitation unit. The investigation led to finding more than 5,000 images of child pornography across several of his devices.

Jones was found guilty in December.

The minimum sentence for possessing child pornography in Canada is one year behind bars.

The Crown is proposing a longer, three-year sentence, along with a DNA order and probation, due to the nature of the crime.

Crown prosecutor Morgan Fane said people from all walks of life can be guilty of child pornography offences, and many go undiscovered. He said children are harmed in the immediate making of the material, and are additionally victimized every time the material is viewed.

The defence argued Jones should serve only the mandatory minimum sentence given his lack of a criminal record and the fact that he did not make the images available to other potential users.

Defence lawyer Jay Bran additionally recommended two years of probation, with community service and counselling.

Jones' background was described by the defence as "unremarkable," with a stable childhood and later family life. He was steadily employed by the N.W.T. government for 35 years.

Jones was described as cooperative with court mandates and in good communication with his bail supervisor.

Although Jones admitted pre-sentencing to possessing 1,124 images that met the criminal definition of child pornography, he disputed 24 other images the Crown was planning to use as evidence.

Justice Shannon Smallwood ruled Friday that 21 of the images were admissible.

Jones is additionally requesting the return of various computer components seized by RCMP in 2020.

His sentence will be delivered on Friday, June 7 in Yellowknife.