A high-profile pedophile, known for using photo editing software to scramble pictures of himself sexually abusing children, was in court Wednesday after allegedly breaching the rules of his living conditions, which forbid him from using a laptop.
Christopher Neil served five years in a Thai jail for being in possession of pictures showing men engaging in sex with boys.
Since his return to Vancouver, he has been living under strict conditions: Neil cannot use a computer with internet access, or be in a location where children under the age of 16 could reasonably be expected to be. A violation of these conditions brings a maximum penalty of six months behind bars.
Neil was charged in August, after Vancouver Police Department investigators said they found three pictures of children between the ages of six and 10 on his computer, which Neil wasn't permitted to have in the first place.
During Wednesday's proceedings, the Crown presented a report from the VPD.
Neil's lawyer, Mark Thompson, said the claims made in the report are false.
"They simply don't know what happened. There were three thumbnails found on the computer and [as] I understand it, if you do a Google search, I understand they are stored on the computer," he said.
The Crown said VPD officers were never able to see complete files on Neil's computer because the photographs were heavily encrypted.
Thompson said because the images could only be recovered partially, there is no proof Neil ever looked at the images. He said the files could easily have been cached on the computer, created by a Google search.
"It's impossible to know if he was looking for child porn, regular porn or if it was just an incident," he said.
Thompson said he doesn't think Neil is a threat to public safety, especially not under the conditions set by the Crown.
The Vancouver Police have not issued any public warnings about Neil, but said they do monitor sex offenders living in the community.