Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Caught with 280,000 images of child pornography

A Laval resident who possessed 280,000 images of child pornography, images of children 5 to 12 years old, could spend seven and a half years behind bars. The 38-year-old man recovered a few months after his release.

“They are very, very concerned about this situation. […] According to the number of images, the images, it’s bigger,” said Judge Yanick Laramée at the hearing on Monday, judging the file “extremely disturbing”.

Mathieu Meilleur pleaded guilty to possession, production and distribution of child pornography in April 2022. The defense and crown agreed to seek a prison sentence of seven and a half years.

The judge at the Laval court on Monday said he was willing to follow the suggestion of both sides, but said more time was needed to read the documents filed by the Crown. A sentencing decision will be made on April 17.

Hundreds of thousands of images

Since 2014, Mathieu Meilleur had been downloading and consuming child pornography “almost every day”. “The search for this type of content has become ubiquitous in his life,” said Crown Prosecutor Me Claudia Ossio.

A man was arrested in 2019 after claiming images from childhood pornography from what he believed to be the mother of an 8-year-old boy. It was more of a virtual police operation.

Almost a year ago, the question of teams in the sexual exploitation of children on the Internet of the Sûreté du Québec was accused through the files. A total of 280,000 images and 16,000 videos of girls five to 12 were found.

“We talked about the immense work of computer analysis” […]. It is not yet, said the accuser, Me Ossius.

Despite the large number of images found, the Crown noted a “lack of consideration and compassion for children” on the part of the accused. According to him, “these are only pictures”, Me Ossio told the hearing.

“The people who commit this type of offense think that there are no victims, because we are virtual, but it is a great evil that children on the phone who are sexually abused and suffer incredible torture,” said Judge Yanick Laramée.

“Above average” risk of recurrence

After his arrest in 2019, Mathieu Meilleur was arrested five months later when he was released. It was then seen by the parents. “And to find the password” [internet] of his brother, go buy an electronic board and access child pornography, “Ossio explained to me.

Moreover, when he was released, Mathieu Meilleur had undertaken not to possess or consume alcoholic beverages or drugs, which he did not comply with. He was charged with identity fraud and has been in custody since August 10, 2020.

Now, Mr. Meilleur continues to present an above average risk of recidivism. “There is a risk of recidivism that worries me a lot,” the judge said, adding that “he leaves the day to repent, so that it does not happen again.”

At the end of the hearing, Mathieu Meilleur said he was “looking forward to going.” [sa] just in penitentiary and in motion.

For his part, defense lawyer Peter Joyal described the seven-and-a-half-year sentence as “significant” and “reasonable”, adding that his client showed “a desire to correct his behaviour”. “I tell you that Meilleur is not a monster, Mr. Meilleur, but he is missing,” he said.

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