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Child porn found in store photo kiosk, court told

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/4/2014 (1171 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Testifying at the trial of a senior accused of making and possessing child porn, a former photo shop employee described how he found the images after a customer took them there to make prints.

It was common to find self-taken nude photos stored within the self-serve kiosks used by customers to turn their digital snapshots into prints, he said — but not images like these.

Brandon Court House

BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN

Brandon Court House

"These ones were obviously young girls … some were scantily clad, some were bare-breasted, and they were nude and they looked pretty young," Alexander Joseph Campbell testified.

A 76-year-old man is accused of taking photos of two 15-year-old girls at his Brandon-area trailer.

The Brandon Sun isn’t naming the man because a publication ban protects the girls’ identities, and it appears they knew the accused prior to the incident.

The man’s trial before Justice John Menzies in Brandon Court of Queen’s Bench began on Monday with the accused pleading not guilty to charges of making and possessing child porn.

The charges state that the images depict the two girls in various stages of undress.

Specifically, police analysis points to 10 photos considered child porn. Eight of them show the girls with their breasts exposed, and two photos show them naked.

The 10 images deemed child porn were among 38 photos that staff of the Real Canadian Superstore gave police.

Police and Campbell testified that the accused was identified as a suspect after he took the digital pictures to Superstore to get prints made on Nov. 28, 2011, the same day the photos are believed to have been taken.

Campbell described how copies of digital pictures would be stored within self-serve printing kiosks when customers used them. Within three days, staff would delete the images so the machines wouldn’t slow down. However, a preview of the images could still be seen.

Campbell said he was deleting images from a kiosk when he found pictures of nude girls. Prints of the images from the machine were then made and handed over to police.

The accused was a "regular" and he’d used that machine to make instant prints 10 to 20 minutes prior to the discovery of the images on the machine, Campbell said.

Two Brandon police officers described how they identified the suspect.

Investigators used clues in the background of the photos themselves to figure out where the suspect lived — it appeared they’d been shot in an older-style trailer. The name of the trailer park could almost be made out on a business card stuck to the fridge.

A Brandon police employee who happened to live in the same trailer park identified the man based on surveillance images from Superstore. It also turned out that the suspect and investigating officer were members of the same gym.

And — apparently by chance — the police officer who’d picked up the photos from Superstore was dispatched to a call elsewhere that same night and happened across a girl who looked very similar to one of those in the photos. As a result of that encounter, the officer got the girls’ names.

The investigating officer then attended the girls’ school, confirmed their identity and went to their homes.

As he approached one girl’s home, the suspect drove up with the girl in his vehicle and dropped her off. Also in the vehicle was a dog similar to one that appeared in the background of the photos.

The investigating officer arrested the man after he drove away from the girl’s home. Members of the RCMP Integrated Child Exploitation Unit searched his home the next day.

Crown attorney Rich Lonstrup faces some challenges as he prosecutes the case.

He agrees there was a breach of the accused’s right to counsel during his arrest and continued detention the next day. As a result, a statement the accused made to a police officer is inadmissible at trial.

Defence lawyer Philippe Richer told court that he intends to argue that not only was his client’s right to counsel breached, but so was his right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned — those breaches are so serious that the charges against his client should be dropped.

The trial is expected to continue throughout the week.

» ihitchen@brandonsun.com

» Twitter: @IanHitchen

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