The descriptions alone read out in court of some of the nearly 18,000 child porn images found on computers owned by Douglas Noseworthy would fill most people with deep disgust and anger.
Even Justice Carl Thompson did not want to view the images, preferring to deal with the case based only on the written descriptions provided.
On Tuesday, Thompson sentenced Noseworthy — a 56-year-old Canadian military veteran — to 15 months in prison for possessing child pornography.
He pleaded guilty to the offence in June. A charge of accessing child pornography was withdrawn by the Crown at that time.
Noseworthy co-operated with police investigators from the beginning and told them he had been downloading child pornography like an addiction since the internet was invented.
When asked by Thompson if he had anything to say before sentence was imposed Tuesday, Noseworthy stood in the prisoners’ dock at Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in St. John’s and apologized to the court and to his family.
“Justice, officers of the court, I want to start off by saying that I am truly, truly sorry for what I’ve done. I now realize that looking at these images perpetuates the cycle of pornography and I know that is wrong,” he said. “I am sorry for the shame that I brought to my family, to my son, my daughter, my wife, and I’m sorry for all these things.
“Thinking about this, I’m going to mention to the court that if the convictions, the length of time could be lessened … I’d be willing to undergo chemical castration in order to lessen my punishment. And I put that to the court as another option that I would be willing to undergo.”
His lawyer, Mark Gruchy, indicated to the court that he had already informed Noseworthy that the court had no jurisdiction to order chemical castration, but Noseworthy had still wanted to mention it to the court.
Chemical castration involves the administration of a drug to reduce sexual urges.
Thompson agreed with Gruchy and told Noseworthy that he had no authority on that request.
The background of the case, as presented in an agreed statement of facts, states that a U.S. tip line received information that a person using a Hotmail address with Noseworthy’s name had uploaded 61 images of child pornography online. Police traced the account to this province and alerted local authorities, who identified the IP address as that of Noseworthy. After a lengthy investigation and obtaining a warrant to search his home for computer data, police arrested Noseworthy at work on Oct. 6, 2016.
Noseworthy had been co-operative, telling the investigators they would find what they were looking for on his laptops. The officers eventually located evidence of 17,852 images and three videos on a handful of computers and an external hard drive in Noseworthy’s home, depicting boys and girls as young as toddlers and infants. Many of the photos had been deleted and were recovered by forensic software.
The officers also discovered Noseworthy had previously subscribed to newsgroups — online discussion forums — related to child pornography.
Earlier in the court process, Thompson rejected an application from Noseworthy arguing police had breached his rights when they arrested him, and asking for statements he had made to the officers and evidence seized as the result of the search warrant to be thrown out.
After Thompson rejected that application, Noseworthy pleaded guilty.
The sentence on Tuesday is in line with what Crown prosecutor Jeff Summers suggested.
In his pre-sentence submission, Summers told the court that deterrence has to be priority in the case, before rehabilitation. He said even though Noseworthy attributed his actions to an addiction, there is a level of culpability involved.
Gruchy had said a sentence of 12 months would be appropriate. Gruchy noted Noseworthy did not have a criminal record and has been in treatment for the past two years to deal with the issue. He said Noseworthy had lost his job and caused chaos in his life and in his family. However, he still has family support.
Thompson gave Noseworthy six days’ credit for time spent in custody following his arrest. He will be placed on probation for two years following his release from prison.
Other strict orders Noseworthy will be subject to include providing a DNA sample to authorities, being placed on the national sex offender registry for 20 years, being prohibited for 10 years from attending any daycare, school, playground or community centre, and being prohibited from seeking employment or volunteering where he would be placed in a position of trust over people under 16 years of age.
Noseworthy will only be permitted to use the internet for work, banking, dealing with Veterans Affairs, contacting his lawyer and communicating with his wife, children and grandchildren.
Thompson said the victims in this case are silent victims — children in the early years of development.
“Some are infants,” he noted. “The abuse of children is an abhorrent event in our society.”