Crimes that involved hacking into pop superstar Carly Rae Jepsen‘s email and social media accounts were easy to commit, but had “far-reaching consequences,” a provincial court judge said Friday in Abbotsford provincial court.
Judge Jill Rounthwaite sentenced hacker Christopher David Long, 25, of Abbotsford to a four-month conditional sentence (house arrest) and one year of probation for the two offences to which he pleaded guilty – mischief to data and possession of stolen property.
Rounthwaite said it was challenging to come up with a sentence, because this was the first case of its kind in Canada.
But she said she believed a “term of imprisonment” was necessary to adequately address the principles of deterrence and denunciation.
Rounthwaite accepted Crown lawyer Rob Macgowan’s recommendation of four months’ house arrest.
At Long’s sentencing hearing last Friday, defence lawyer Martin Finch had asked the judge to consider a conditional discharge.
The court heard that Long began hacking into Jepsen’s email and social media accounts in March 2012, when she and then-boyfriend Jordi Ashworth were living together in Vancouver.
Long changed passwords, posted vulgar messages, made veiled threats to Ashworth, and downloaded material that included Jepsen’s recording contract, tour schedule, videos, two song recordings and several photos, including two that were “sensitive and highly personal.”
Long sent those two pictures to celebrity gossip website TMZ, suggesting possibly selling them.
Long also contacted a phone company to have Jepsen’s cellphone number changed, resulting in her being unable to make or receive calls while she was on tour.
The incidents were reported to the Vancouver Police Department, which investigated the matter. Long surrendered to police in December 2012.
Rounthwaite said Long’s actions were invasive and created fear and anxiety for Ashworth and Jepsen.
“There’s no doubt that the offences had a significant impact on (the two),” she said.
Ashworth was in attendance at the ruling. Speaking outside the courthouse, he said he was happy with the sentence and relieved that the matter was over.
“It was difficult. It still is. There’s a lot of emotion involved in this, a lot of pain. It was scary to leave your house and wonder who’s out there,” he said.
Ashworth said he felt like he was being bullied by Long, and he wants this case to provide a broader message than just the impacts of Internet hacking or celebrity stalking.
“This spreads far far greater than that – to children in schools and people in their workplaces and same-sex marriage. There’s bullying of all sorts.”
Conditions of Long’s house arrest include that he not use a computer or other electronic device to access the Internet, except for work or school purposes.
He is also prohibited from attending any of Jepsen’s performances and from selling or distributing any material – including photos and videos – related to her.
Long is permitted to leave his home only for work, school, medical emergencies and reasons approved by his supervisor.