Donnie Snook forfeiture hearing set over until January
Crown hopes to seize ex-Saint John councillor's property connected to his sex crimes against boys
Disgraced former Saint John councillor and youth ministry leader Donnie Snook will have to wait at least another two months to learn the fate of some of his property.
A forfeiture hearing held in Saint John on Thursday to deal with seized items connected to Snook's sex crimes against children had to be set over until Jan. 8 because the Crown could not provide proper documentation.
"I don't know what you have or what police seized," said provincial court Judge Alfred Brien, lecturing prosecutor Michel Bertrand for being unprepared.
Bertrand told the court he could not find the detention order, as Snook looked on from the prisoner's box, appearing gaunt and subdued.
Snook, 41, was sentenced last month to 18 years in prison after pleading guilty to 46 sex crimes against children.
The Crown had requested the forfeiture hearing at that time, hoping to sell or destroy any of Snook's property that was related to the offences, including electronic equipment.
Bertrand said the Crown will be seeking to have the computers and IT storage devices destroyed.
The Crown also hopes to forfeit and sell Snook's house, SUV and a camper van, he said.
In addition, the Crown wants to extend the detention of several items related to an "ongoing investigation," said Bertrand.
He would not comment on whether that investigation is related to Snook's claim that he was abused as a child by a Salvation Army official in Newfoundland and Labrador.
City won't interfere
City solicitor John Nugent confirmed Saint John provided Snook with a laptop, Blackberry, and iPad in his position as councillor.
There was no discussion as to whether child pornography images were made, traded or stored on these items.
But Nugent said the city will not interfere with the Crowns' request.
Defence lawyer Dennis Boyle said Snook will not object to the forfeiture of the items being sought either, but did request that any personal property not involved in the crimes, such as family photographs, not be forfeited or destroyed.
Outside the court, Boyle said there are two liens against Snook's house and the SUV was returned to the Ford dealership because he still owed money on the vehicle.
In the end, all parties agreed that the estimated dozen items currently in custody will remain detained, pending the Jan. 8 hearing, which will determine how to proceed.
'Onerous' on Snook
Boyle asked the judge if Snook could be spared from attending the hearing. He said it was "onerous on him, having to come in shackles."
Brien said the court did not summon Snook. It was his understanding that Crown prosecutor Karen Lee Lamrock had applied to have Snook present for Thursday's hearing, he said.
Snook's collection of pornography included 14,457 unique images and 620 videos, the Crown said during the sentencing hearing.
Images were also found stored on a camera memory card, a thumb drive in his office closet and an external hard drive in the drawer of his living room coffee table.
Snook also used a video camera in the commission of his crimes, the court heard. One of the videos shown to the judge during the sentencing hearing showed a boy performing sex acts on another child who was sleeping, while Snook operated the video camera
When Snook was arrested at his Martha Avenue bungalow by members of the RCMP's internet child exploitation unit in January, he had a 12-year-old boy with cognitive disabilities with him.
The charges Snook has been convicted of include sexual assault, making child pornography and extortion. They span 12 years and involve 17 male victims, some as young as five years old.
Outstanding charges in N.L.
Snook is also still facing four child exploitation charges in his native Newfoundland and Labrador. He is accused of assaulting a boy while he was a pastor with the Salvation Army in Mount Moriah in the mid-1990s.
His defence lawyer has requested that those charges be transferred to a New Brunswick court.
A hearing has been set for Nov. 28, Boyle said.
Snook intends to plead guilty to the two counts of sexual assault and two counts of sexual interference, Boyle has said.
Boyle plans to request a concurrent sentence on those charges, he said.
As it stands, Snook will be eligible for parole after serving less than six years.
A pre-sentence report indicated the driving factor behind Snook's actions was his deviant sexual interest in boys and that his risk of reoffending falls within the high end of the moderate range.
Snook will be listed on the national sex offender registry for life, and has been ordered not to have any contact with his victims during his custodial sentence.