Defence seeks house arrest in luring case
The lawyer for a Mount Pearl man charged with internet luring says his client should get house arrest.
Paul Parsons, 59, was charged in September 2009 following a sting operation by the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary. A male police officer, Cst. Ed Billard, posed online as a 14-year-old girl.
In December 2010, Parsons told the court he thought he was chatting online with a 40-year-old woman pretending to be a 14-year-old girl.
In court on Friday, defence lawyer Tony St. George asked for a conditional sentence of 15 to 18 months with a long period of probation.
St. George said his client has suffered a great deal of public embarrassment and shame as a result of all the media attention around this case. He told the court that it's also brought about the end of Parsons's marriage and damaged the relationship he had with his children.
However, crown attorney Robin Fowler says Parsons should get an 18 month prison sentence, along with three years probation. Fowler noted that in a pre-sentence report, Parsons said he still believed he was chatting online with a 40-year-old woman, not a teenaged girl. The crown says this suggests Parsons still hasn't accepted responsibility for what he did.
Fowler told the court that Parsons continued to chat online with someone he believed to be a teenager, and the conversations quickly became sexual, something Fowler described as 'grooming behaviour'. Fowler said at one point, Parsons actually believed he'd found the girl's address and went there.
He said Parsons even expressed concern to the girl about the age of consent and said that if the girl's mother knew, that she would have him sent to jail.
The crown said house arrest wasn't appropriate, given Parsons had committed these crimes from his home computer.
Justice Gloria Harden is expected to hand down her decision on this case in early June.