NEW GLASGOW – Twin brothers, twin offences, twin sentences.
David Scott Hammond and James Corey Hammond, both 20, were each ordered to serve a three-month intermittent sentence and 18 months of probation for downloading Japanese anime images and live images of child pornography.
The brothers were charged last November after their sister-in-law saw some “distressing” images of children “as young as two years of age” on two computers in the New Glasgow home where the twins resided, special Crown attorney Craig Botterill told New Glasgow provincial court Wednesday.
Both men admitted to downloading images.
“It’s impossible to tell which young man did what from a forensic perspective,” Botterill said. “Both acknowledge they had been accessing and downloading these images.”
The images included “videos depicting sexual assaults of barely pubescent boys, around 12 years old, some pictures and cartoon drawings,” Botterill said.
Approximately 90 per cent of the images were of cartoon drawings called Japanese Anime, while the remainder were of actual children. An examination of the computer showed that one or both of the Hammond twins had done Google queries to see if anime was legal, Botterill said. While it is legal in the United States, Canada has taken a firm stance that the representations constitute child pornography.
Both Corey and David had been sent for a risk assessment through the provincial sex offender treatment program. David’s report was fairly positive and indicated he had a low risk to re-offend, prompting the Crown to reduce his charges to a summary offence, which lowers the mandatory minimum sentence that comes with a guilty plea. Corey’s report, however, was not as bright. The report’s author said that Corey admitted that he was attracted to 12-year-old boys and sometimes, while walking down the street, “thought of using toys to approach boys of that age in the community, which is of some concern to the Crown,” Botterill said.
An examination of the computer showed that one twin had visited an American site that assists people with approaching young teen boys and advocates relationships with young boys. Further, psycho-somatic testing showed that when Corey was presented with visual stimuli, he indicated strong physiological preferences to pre-pubescent boys between the ages of 12 and 15 and had strong responses to sexual abuse of children as young as eight years old. Corey was placed at just below a moderate risk to re-offend. During the course of the testing, he needed help, a sentiment he echoed during his court appearance Wednesday.
David’s report indicating he had less of a predatory bent, but he also expressed a desire for help.
The Crown recommended both twins receive the same sentence, although the mode of trial was different for both boys.
A mandatory minimum sentence of 14 days in jail is required for a summary conviction of this crime – which David is subject to – while the mandatory minimum sentence for an indictable conviction, like Corey’s, is 45 days.
The Crown pressed for four months in jail, saying the sentence has to serve as a deterrent for others and denounce the crime publicly as well as punishment for the brothers, but both defence attorneys argued against the sentence. Both defence attorneys pushed for a lighter sentence. Corey’s lawyer, Steve Robertson, expressed concerns about how the twins would handle jail.
Judge Theodore Tax said that imposing a minimum sentence would not make clear that anime child pornography was illegal in Canada.
“The images creates a market, whether anime or live images, and victimizes the people that are most vulnerable,” said Tax.