News Column

Soldier's child porn explanation rejected

April 30, 2014

Hitchen, Ian

A judge has found that a CFB Shilo soldier -- who claimed his post-traumatic stress disorder led him to download child porn -- had more of the disturbing material than he was willing to admit.

Justice Robert Cummings said he simply didn't believe the soldier, who blamed his drug-dealing friend -- known only to him as Chris -- for downloading the larger quantity of child porn without his knowledge.

"It stretches credibility to the breaking point to accept that the large quantity of child pornography could exist on the accused's computer and external storage device without the accused being aware of it," Cummings said as he delivered his decision in Brandon Court of Queen's Bench this week.

Adam Frederick Bryan-Pulham, 33, previously pleaded guilty to possessing digital child porn files between Jan. 6, 2011, and May 16, 2011.

His sentencing hearing was held in November, but Cummings reserved his decision and delivered it Monday.

At issue was whether Bryan-Pulham downloaded 483 child porn pictures and four child porn videos, as the Crown maintained. Or, whether he had 30-35 child porn images as he admitted.

A finding that Bryan-Pulham had possessed the larger amount of porn (also described as more extreme) could result in a tougher sentence.

As it is, he faces a minimum sentence of 45 days in custody.

Bryan-Pulham testified that he downloaded 30-35 images that included unclothed girls as young as 12 years old.

However, he denied doing that out of sexual attraction to young girls. He said he downloaded the pictures as part of a larger search for disturbing material which was a symptom of his PTSD.

Bryan-Pulham served in Afghanistan for six months in 2008.

Interestingly, Bryan-Pulham said the images he admitted having were stored on a memory stick which can't be found -- it wasn't on a list of items seized during the police raid of his CFB Shilo home on May 16, 2011.

Crown attorney Rich Lonstrup questioned whether the memory stick ever existed.

Lonstrup maintained that Bryan-Pulham actually downloaded 483 child porn images and four child porn videos that were found on the soldier's laptop computer and external hard drive.

However, Bryan-Pulham maintained that those were actually downloaded without his knowledge by his drug dealer and buddy, known only to him as Chris.

He told court that his efforts to find Chris following the raid had failed.

In delivering his decision, Cummings said he didn't believe Bryan-Pulham.

Cummings said Bryan-Pulham testified that he would leave his home unlocked when he was away, and Chris would often stay overnight at his home. Chris would often use his computer after he went to bed, Bryan-Pulham said.

But Cummings questioned why Bryan-Pulham would risk his military career by allowing his drug-dealing friend to be present in his quarters in breach of several military rules.

"I do not accept that Chris freely came and went from the accused's house, and had unfettered access to his computer," Cummings said.

Despite the soldier's claim he would leave his home unlocked, Cummings noted it was locked when police raided it.

The judge also questioned why Chris would download some of the images and a video to an external storage device. It's more likely that a computer owner would keep the images on an external device for later use.

As a result, Cummings ruled that Bryan-Pulham had downloaded and possessed the much larger amount of pictures and videos.

Sentencing has been delayed to allow preparation of a pre-sentence report and a date hasn't been set.

Twitter: @IanHitchen

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Source: Brandon Sun, The (Manitoba, Canada)

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