Nfld. & Labrador

Massive collection of child porn will mean jail for Happy Valley-Goose Bay man

David Inkpen, 36, is facing a mandatory minimum sentence of 12 months for possessing child pornography, a charge which he has pleaded guilty to.

David Inkpen told police he wanted to plead guilty and go to jail the first time they came to his house

Inkpen heard recommendations from Crown and defence lawyers for sentencing Thursday afternoon in Happy Valley-Goose Bay provincial court. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

A Happy Valley-Goose Bay man who pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography is facing a mandatory minimum sentence of one year.

David Inkpen was taken into police custody after a sentencing hearing at provincial court Thursday afternoon, where he heard submissions from Crown attorney Jennifer Standen and defence lawyer Jonathan Andrews about the type of sentence he should receive.

Inkpen pleaded guilty to one charge of possession of child pornography, while a second charge of distribution or sale of child pornography was withdrawn.

The Crown asked for two years less a day behind bars, along with two to three years' probation. Andrews asked for 16 to 18 months in prison.

"It's his and others' desires for this type of material that fuels individuals to create it," Standen said. "If people weren't out looking for it, people wouldn't make it, so he is harming children."

Standen also asked that Inkpen not be allowed to possess any pornography, nor have any access to the Internet or devices that could connect to the Internet except for the purposes of work or education.

She also asked that he not have any contact with children under the age of 18 without authorities granting him permission.

Hundreds of thousands of photographs

The Crown cited mainly from information gathered by the RCMP and statements Inkpen had given them. 

Standen said Inkpen had been in Happy Valley-Goose Bay for about two and a half years at the time of his arrest, was from a military family and has worked for the Department of National Defence in the past as well as the Royal Bank. The Crown said he was moving on to a new opportunity as a manager at a veterinary clinic at the time of his arrest.

The RCMP searched Inkpen's house in December  2016, the eventual result of a tip to the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children about a pornographic image of a young girl posted to a group chat website called "chat step."

David Inkpen was taken in to police custody to await a decision by the judge on sentencing for possession of child pornography (Jacob Barker/CBC)

Eventually police found there to be hundredsof thousands of offending pictures Inkpen had collected for over a decade on storage devices and computers belonging to him. 

They included photographs of prepubescent and preteen children from the ages of four to 14 years old naked in sexual poses and being sexually abused by adults. 

Collection of anime

Though tens of thousands of images showed real images of children, a majority of the photographs found were anime, a Japanese style cartoon art form, many of which were hentai, which is anime pornography. These depicted children engaged in sexual poses and sexual acts — which is illegal as well.

The Crown said that his collection of anime was not a sexual thing but rather that he liked the art and the storylines. Standen noted the sexual activity is a large part of the storylines.

"According to his statement, he was downloading every single anime file he could find that was translated with English subtitles," Standen said. 

"Anime pornography was depicting young characters that were naked and engaging in sexual activity, and during the statement, Mr. Inkpen acknowledged that the children were under the age of 18, which would be categorized as child pornography."

Crown prosecutor Jennifer Standen says she believes Inkpen has a high risk of reoffending based on his longtime obsession with pornographic images of children. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

Inkpen, who had no previous criminal record, said he felt he had an addiction to child pornography and was trying to get out of it but it was hard. He told police he had gotten rid of his collection before moving to Happy Valley-Goose Bay about two and a half years before his arrest, but he began collecting images again a couple of months after the move. 

Inkpen also told police he never touched a child even though he had the opportunity to do so, and that he was proud of that fact. He said he never perpetrated the abuse because he didn't want to hurt them.

Standen also told the court about his participation in online chat rooms about the sexual abuse of children using the screen name LVR. 

"Four to six [years old] is my strike zone but up to 10," Standen said Inkpen wrote in a conversation about an image posted in a chatroom.

Sentencing decision yet to come

Standen said she is concerned that his risk to reoffend is quite high, noting that child pornography has been a significant part of Inkpen's life for a very long time. 

"It speaks to his degree of interest and the obsession he has with this," Standen said. "The Crown submits that these are indicators that show that his risk to reoffend is not low, it's quite high."

She also said that while deterrence and denunciation is the highest priority, rehabilitation should not be forgotten about.

Andrews said Inkpen has been very co-operative since the very beginning of the matter, adding that from the first time police officers knocked on Inkpen's door he co-operated with officers and provided them with passwords and materials.

Andrews added that Inkpen also pleaded guilty very early, which avoided a lengthy trial. He said Inkpen told police the first time police visited his home that he wanted to plead guilty and go to jail. 

Inkpen declined to say anything at the hearing and was immediately taken into police custody after it ended. The judge will determine his sentence in provincial court May 24th.