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Chilliwack child porn distributor's lawyer paints picture of an ordinary man
John Patrick Davy’s lawyer painted a picture on an ordinary man—a successful, intelligent educator—who happened to have a terrible secret that has destroyed his life.
That secret is that he collected, watched and distributed child pornography.
Lawyer Martin Finch spoke about Davy’s plight in Chilliwack Provincial Court last Friday on the final day of a protracted sentencing hearing for the former Greendale elementary school teacher.
Davy pleaded guilty on Feb. 19 to possession and distribution of child pornography after he was found with more than 27,000 digital child porn images, and 866 videos.
“The perception in the community is that my client is somewhat of a monster,” Finch told the court. “Aside from that secret, he was a very ordinary man.”
Finch called Davy an “immensely popular and capable teacher” who was committed to his students and to his profession.
Arrested, charged and released under strict conditions last year, he was then found in Kelowna on Sept. 12 with a computer that had more than 1,000 child porn images.
Davy is being sentenced for a breach of his bail conditions in addition to the child porn possession and distribution.
The Crown has asked for two years less a day in addition to time served. He has served approximately 275 in custody so far.
Davy is asking for 12 to 18 months in custody including time served.
In court on Friday, Finch said that even members of Davy’s family faced a level of “irrational public shame” over the charges.
Finch downplayed Davy’s bail breach saying it wasn’t his own fault as he “inadvertently” got the Internet in a bundled package when he ordered TV services after moving to Kelowna.
Judge Roger Cutler took issue with Finch’s argument that Davy’s breach was having access to the Internet, not that he did access the Internet or had child porn in his possession.
“Aren’t we splitting hairs? He was recommitting the substantive offence,” Cutler said, adding that Davy has shown “a failure to control himself throughout.”
While defence and Crown differ on the length of time Davy should spend in jail, there is also some debate over some of the probation conditions asked for by Crown counsel Andrea Ormiston.
Ormiston suggested that Davy should only have access to the Internet during his probation period to look for work.
“The Internet is all pervasive,” Finch argued, suggesting that many common daily activities, commerce, looking for accommodation, all require the Internet. He even went so far as to suggest at some point in the future, a court’s restriction of Internet access could face a Charter challenge as cruel and unusual punishment.
“Even when he was ordered to not use the Internet he used it for child porn,” Cutler stated, referring to Davy’s breach.
Finch also argued that the Crown probation conditions restricting movements and contact were unnecessary.
“There is no need for the public to be protected from him because he is not a danger.”
Cutler responded with a question: “Would a member of the public feel comfortable with Mr. Davy siting on a park bench watching their children?”
Finch responded that they would if they knew the “fulness” of the situation.
“If anyone in this community saw him sitting on a park bench, would that cause them some discomfort?” Cutler persisted.
“They would not be concerned,” Finch argued.
“Should not?” Cutler tried to clarify.
“Would not,” Finch said.
Judge Cutler is scheduled to hand down his sentence on June 23.
Lawyer slips up, there were complaints about Davy as a teacher
During his submissions Friday, Finch did slip up when he continued his ongoing argument that Davy only has an addiction to digital images of child porn and in no way has he ever or will he ever “act out” his fantasies in the real world.
Finch asserted that despite the fact that Davy taught elementary school for 16 years while having a predilection for child porn, Davy had “never” had anyone come forward with an accusation that they had been touched.
But in 2009, three female Grade 6 students at Greendale elementary did indeed complain about being touched by Davy.
Finch later addressed this, stating that he did not wish to mislead the court, adding that neither the school district nor the RCMP found any evidence of wrongdoing.
Finch said the accusations come with the territory of being a school teacher, and that “all teachers can be subject to mischievous complaints.”
The truth is the RCMP never investigated in 2009, because school district rejected the student’s complaints after an internal investigation.
The mother of one of the girls who alleged Davy touched her told the Times she was threatened by the school district with legal action if she spoke out.
“I can’t tell you how frustrating this case is to me due to this and the impact it has had on my daughter even now,” the mother told the Times.
“At least this is coming to an end and I hope the girls may find some justice of sorts from his sentencing.”