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Sault man who shared thousands of child pornography images convicted

Kenneth Newell, 70, was arrested at his Albert Street apartment in January 2021; he will be sentenced next month
The Sault Ste. Marie Courthouse is pictured in this file photo.

City police found evidence of child pornography on a computer and four other devices officers located in a Sault Ste. Marie man's apartment in January 2021.

Kenneth Newell, 70, will be in court Aug. 9 for sentencing, after being convicted last month of making available child pornography and possession of child pornography.

Ontario Court Justice Romuald Kwolek found him guilty of the charges on June 21, following a four-day trial that took place in January, February and March of this year.

The offences occurred between Sept. 9, 2020 and Jan. 27, 2021.

During the trial, Kwolek heard testimony from two city police officers involved in the investigation.

Newell, who represented himself, called no evidence in his defence.

In a 15-page written decision, the judge noted the accused had acknowledged at the beginning of the trial that images found on the devices didn't have to be shown in open court because they constituted child pornography. 

As well, he conceded during the trial that he lived alone and no else resided with him at his Albert Street East apartment.

Sgt. Jack Rice, the first prosecution witness called by assistant Crown attorney Stuart Woods, detailed how he used pro-active peer-to-peer investigations to search for persons sharing and involved in child pornography in Sault Ste. Marie.

On Sept. 9, 2020, his investigative software identified an IP address that had child pornography material and was sharing it.

Rice was able to download 4,332 child pornography files on Sept. 25 and 26, that were available and being shared.

Many of the images involved scantily-clad six- to 12-year-old girls in sexually provocative poses, the court heard.

On Jan. 27, 2021, officers, armed with a search warrant, showed up at Newell's apartment.

They seized numerous devices, including laptops, a tablet, cell phone, thumb drive and external hard drives, which were in the living room.

Const. David Guizzetti analyzed a number of the devices and prepared a forensic report.

He testified that the majority of the videos he viewed involved 12-to-14-year-old girls.

Most of the images were described by the officer as modelling pictures of young girls, generally under the age of 10, posed in a sexual manner in lingerie.

There were a few videos where young girls were engaged in sexual activity with others their own age or with adult men, Guizzetti told the court.

In his cross-examination of the Crown witnesses, Newell didn't seriously undermine 

the officers' circumstantial evidence, Kwolek said.

There was no evidence that anyone else was using his devices to download child pornography.

Kwolek concluded the total circumstantial evidence established "beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused possessed child pornographic material."

Five devices had evidence of child pornography on them, he said.

"Multiple devices with numerous child pornography images and videos would suggest that such child pornography was not inadvertently downloaded."

The judge noted the files on the various devices were accessed on multiple occasions over a number of years.

Some were accessed late at night or early in the morning, leading to the conclusion that no else other than Newell was doing this, Kwolek said.

It also confirmed that whoever was dealing with it had knowledge of the videos and images for a period of time and knew what the files contained.

Newell "admitted, and the evidence supported, that the accused lived alone at his residence where the devices were found," he said.

The deletion of some images and the existence of files and subfiles where the child pornography was located suggest some measure of knowledge and control.

About the Author: Linda Richardson

Linda Richardson is a freelance journalist who has been covering Sault Ste. Marie's courts and other local news for more than 45 years.
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