Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia teen guilty in child porn case involving topless photos

Nova Scotia Judge Anne Derrick lamented the "harm caused by the callous exploitation of internet anonymity." She also found the boy guilty of extortion for threats made against the girl to make her provide the photos.

Justice Anne Derrick laments 'bitter harvest of shadowy, distorted' online world

A Halifax-area teenager has been found guilty of child pornography charges over topless images of a 15-year-old girl.

In an April 2 decision, Nova Scotia Provincial Court Judge Anne Derrick also found the boy guilty of extortion for threats made against the girl to make her provide the photos. The photos later appeared on the girl's Facebook page. 

The judge lamented the "harm caused by the callous exploitation of internet anonymity."

The charges stem from an online friendship between the teen and the girl that expanded to include other online acquaintances and fake Facebook friends.

'Their own perverse amusement'

The boy and others involved in the bullying threatened the girl, insulted her, and engaged in other "tortuous" exchanges, Derrick wrote. 

The girl eventually sent two photographs of herself from the waist up, one wearing a bra and the other without.

The actions, which occurred between Nov. 2, 2012 and Nov. 14, 2013, were done for "their own perverse amusement," the judge added.

She described the boy, who was 16 at the time of the offence, and his victim as "lonely, anxious teenagers" who were "unable to function comfortably and confidently in school and the community." A publication ban prevents either from being identified.

Evidence at the March 2015 trial showed the victim and a female friend tried to commit suicide after coming to believe the fake Facebook friend had taken her life. 

Topless photos posted on Facebook

The victim said, "I'm 300% more suicidal now."

The girl broke down after her photos were posted on Facebook, the trial heard.

"Seeing the photograph on her Facebook page, where it was available to be viewed by her 2,000 Facebook friends, was devastating to her. Already fragile and anxious, she experienced an anxiety attack," Derrick noted in her decision.

"Casual cruelty, shattered trust, attempted suicide and criminal charges are the bitter harvest of the shadowy, distorted world these teens inhabited."

Mark Heerema, the Crown prosecutor, said the verdict pleased him.

"It was clear throughout the trial that the target of this exploitation was a suicidal teenage girl," he said. "It certainly highlights the dangers and potency of the internet when used for these kind of purposes."

The Crown wants a psycho-sexual assessment of the boy to better understand his motivation. The defence has opposed that motion.

The judge will decide the matter on April 16. 

now