Crown asks for nine to 12 months in Abbotsford child porn case

An Abbotsford man justified his collection of child pornography by telling himself, "If so many people do it, it can't be that bad," the court was told Tuesday at his sentencing hearing.

An Abbotsford man justified his collection of child pornography by telling himself, “If so many people do it, it can’t be that bad,” the court was told Tuesday at his sentencing hearing.Jeffery Michael Armstrong, 35, previously pleaded guilty to possession of child porn. A charge of importing or distributing child porn was dismissed.Armstrong was charged in February 2009. U.S. authorities had been notified in May 2007 by Yahoo! – which provides Internet services worldwide – that child porn images had been downloaded to a group account.The computer was traced to a home on Eaglecrest Drive in Abbotsford, and the Abbotsford Police Department (APD) was notified.A search warrant was executed at the home on Feb. 5, 2009. Armstrong, who is single and has no children, lived in the basement suite.Crown counsel Sylvia Domaradzki said police located seven CDs in a dresser drawer in Armstrong’s bedroom, as well as seven videos. The discs were found to contain 135 child porn images, as well as hundreds of other “questionable” photos. APD Det. Shane Savinkoff testified that some of these other files included images such as a naked girl standing in a field and young girls in bathing suits.He said four of the videos seized contained child pornography.Domaradzki referred to expert reports in which Armstrong was quoted as justifying his behaviour and was seen as presenting a  “moderate level of risk” to re-offend. She asked Judge Donald Gardner to impose a jail sentence of nine to 12 months, three years’ probation, and a 10-year ban on attending public places and accessing the Internet.Defence lawyer Gordon Dykstra asked for a sentence of three to four months, saying Armstrong has been remorseful, has expressed regret and shame, and has voluntarily been in counselling since December 2009.Dykstra said, in terms of serving as a denunciation and deterrent, a longer jail term would serve no greater purpose than a shorter one.”This is a problem that needs to be treated by treatment. This isn’t a problem that’s going to go away with punishment,” he said.Dykstra also suggested the ban on public places and accessing the Internet be limited to the length of Armstrong’s probation. He said his client plans to take the forensic sex offender program and the sexual offender maintenance program during his probation period.Gardner has reserved his decision until March 8 in Abbotsford provincial court.