Luring a Child
What Should I Know About a Charge of Luring a Child?
Luring a Child Defined
Luring a Child falls under Part V of the Criminal Code, “Sexual Offences, Public Morals and Disorderly Conduct” and is governed by section 172.1(1) which states that it is a criminal offence to communicate by means of telecommunication with a person who is, or is believed to be: (a) under the age of 18; (b) under the age of 16; or (c) under the age of 14, for the purposes of committing the offences of sexual exploitation, incest, child pornography, procuring a child for sex, or providing premises for sex with children (sections 153(1), 155, 163.1, 170, and 171, respectively).
While telecommunication is not specifically defined in the Criminal Code, such communication typically refers to the Internet and includes chat rooms, message boards, and personal ads.
Belief of Age Not a Defence
The Criminal Code provides that it is not a defence to a charge under section 172(1) that the accused believed that the person was at least 18, 16, or 14 years old, unless the accused took reasonable steps to determine the age of the person (section 172(4)).
Presumption of Age (No Longer Law)
Prior to the recent case of R. v. Morrison (discussed below), section 172(3) of the Criminal Code provided that evidence which showed that a person who was represented to an accused as being under 18, under 16, or under 14 was, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, proof that the accused believed that the person was under age.
The Supreme Court of Canada: Presumption of Age of No Force or Effect
In the case of R. v. Morrison (March 2019), the Supreme Court of Canada struck down section 172(3), the presumption of age provision, on the grounds that it violated the presumption of innocence under section 11(d) of Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Essentially, the Supreme Court said that a law which requires a finding of guilt on the grounds of unreliable representations on the Internet is unconstitutional.
If the crown attorney elects to proceed by indictment (serious offence) and you are convicted of Luring a Child, then you will face a maximum prison term of fourteen (14) years and a minimum prison term of one (1) year. Where the crown attorney elects to proceed by summary conviction (less serious offence) and you are convicted of Luring a Child, you will face a maximum prison term of two (2) years less a day and a minimum prison term of six (6) months (section 172(2)).
The criminal justice system is a complicated and intimidating landscape; particularly, when your liberty is in jeopardy. Jeff Mazin knows the lay of the land and is here to help you navigate your way to the best possible outcome. If you have a question or need assistance, reach out and book a free consultation.