Nearly 1,700 child sex abuse images net Hamilton man 2 years in prison, 10 on probation
Published October 31, 2023 at 12:32 pm
A Hamilton man found guilty of possessing nearly 1,700 images and 22 videos of child sex abuse of victims between 6 and 12 years old will serve two-and-a-half years behind bars and another under strict probation conditions.
Kyle Hughes, 37, was convicted of possession of child pornography and making child pornography available back in March. However, his sentencing was long delayed until Oct. 20. This delay “was little longer than the court would ordinarily prefer” according to Justice Cary Boswell.
Hughes had been arrested a couple of years earlier in 2019. An OPP investigator, Detective Constable Erin Neller, connected to Hughes’ computer in July that year using a program called Torrential Downpour. This tool connected to Hughes through a BitTorrent network he used to download files. It downloaded numerous files including some of child sex abuse material.
The investigation prompted a police raid of Hughes’ home in August 2019 when officers seized numerous devices. In searching these, investigators discovered 1,619 unique images of child pornography on two computers and another 91 images on a smartphone. They also found 22 videos on the computers.
The majority of these images and videos, Neller found, were of adults sexually assaulting prepubescent girls between six and 14 years old.
As Hughes did not personally abuse these girls, there was no complainant before the court, “but of course, that does not mean that these were victimless offences,” Boswell wrote. “The creation of a market for child pornography, through online trading, spurs its production. And every time an image of child pornography is created, a child is abused and degraded.”
He cited an earlier case on similar offences in which the judge wrote, “The collectors of this filth are a vital part of the evil menace it represents and bear responsibility for its malignant growth right along with its creators.” As such Hughes “had many, many innocent young victims,” per Boswell.
While these victims could not appear in court, they were represented in part by Phoenix 11, a local community group composed of survivors of child sex abuse. Phoenix 11 submitted a victim impact statement that “speaks to the emotional impact of the violation of their dignity and privacy and their ongoing struggles to live each day knowing that there is a permanent record of their abuse circulating on the Internet,” Boswell wrote, saying the images and videos of their abuse are “permanent markers of the most painful and traumatic experiences of their lives.”
The images and videos police found were “highly disturbing” according to Boswell and graphically depicted abuse.
Hughes would have had to work hard to build the collection, Boswell found, “Obviously, Mr. Hughes did not simply stumble upon and view child pornography inadvertently. It would have taken considerable time, effort, and a dedication to the task to amass a collection of the size he had.” However, Hughes’ did not produce the materials or spread them around intentionally.
After weighing the nature of these offences, Hughes’ personal circumstances and the standard sentencing of two to three years, Boswell sentenced him to 29 months in prison, or 2.4 years. He must register as a sex offender for the next 20 years and submit his DNA to a database.
Following his release, he’ll recieve ten years of probation during which time he’ll be banned from public parks, beaches and pools, daycare centres, schoolgrounds, playgrounds and community centres. He’ll also be prohibited from working in a position of authority around kids, having any contact with anyone under 16 unless supervised, or using the Internet outside specific purposes.
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