KAMLOOPS - The relationship between a man charged with possessing child pornography and a neighbour who testified against him was far different than what court heard, according to the accused.
Retired teacher Jerry Waselenkoff took the stand as a defence witness Tuesday, May 12 to say he and his neighbour Frans Van Der Woning had little relationship before he was accused of owning four disc wallets containing child porn found in the floor joist beneath his apartment.
Police charged Waselenkoff after Van Der Woning reported finding the cases in his ceiling as a result of home renovations.
Waselenkoff said after police seized the discs, Van Der Woning told him he called police in October 2012 after he and his son Ray watched two discs and discovered child pornography.
“He said ‘they’re not mine’ and I said 'well whose are they?' and he said 'the police think they’re yours,” Waselenkoff said.
The accused said he was “stunned” and “puzzled” about Van Der Woning's attitude. He said the neighbour tried to elicit a confession to committing a crime he didn’t do.
"I started defending myself. I said I would never fool around with that kind of stuff. I said this stuff is dangerous,” Waselenkoff said. “Child pornography. Any link to it, let’s face it - your life is basically shot."
The accused said he thanked Van Der Woning for informing him of a potential RCMP investigation, but asked him not to speak further with police.
"I said just keep out of it; when the police talk to me we’ll straighten it out. I didn’t trust him,” he said.
Waselenkoff said he didn’t have much of a relationship with Van Der Woning beyond friendly greetings.
“I liked the guy. He was kind of like a buffoon to me,” he said.
When Waselenkoff went on trips, he would provide him with a key to his apartment.
The accused spoke quickly, gave lengthy answers and made reference to his nerves after spilling the cup of water he drank from.
Van Der Woning’s testimony from March provided a different story. He said he and Waselenkoff were acquaintances who occasionally met for a glass of wine or coffee. He collected mail for him when he went on trips, he said.
When it came to discussing the discs he found, Van Der Woning said it was Waselenkoff who approached him to ask why they went missing. He said prior to their conversation he heard someone lift the vent and dig around the now-empty air duct. Earlier in the trial, Van Der Woning said Waselenkoff confessed to owning the disks and asked him not to speak with police.
Waselenkoff also mentioned he had several different people, specifically Russian curlers, stay at his house for lengthy periods of time after he signed on to coach a junior girl’s curling team.
“I told them to just make themselves at home. They would stay (in Kamloops) for training. It was just worth their while financially. When I was here they stayed with me. When I wasn’t, they just went in,” he said.
Beyond providing the girls, their coaches and entourage a place to stay, Waselenkoff said he bought the group a van to use during their visits and provided them with a key to his apartment.
He noted players used his laptop if they needed and would stay up to six weeks from September to October.
In the trial's morning session, an RCMP investigator said she was unable to link fingerprints on a series of child porn disks to Waselenkoff.
Forensic investigator Cpl. Tammy Penner collected a second sample of the accused's fingerprints, after the first sample taken by the arresting officer lacked the appropriate quality to compare with prints on the seized discs.
Penner said her attempts to collect new prints failed after she called Waselenkoff to the detachment and tried using three different techniques.
“They were still poor quality,” she said. “There was either distortion or smearing. Nothing that would be sufficient in order to compare."
Waselenkoff’s lawyer, Glen Orris, asked Penner if she made a note or a report of the failed comparison. Penner couldn’t produce one in court, but said she told Cpl. Kerry Blades, the case’s lead investigator.
“I spent days and hours trying to find areas of comparison. It just wasn’t going to happen,” she said. "I know I verbally told (Blades) but I should have made a note.”
Crown prosecutor Frank Caputo asked Penner to explain her exam of the vent which led to the floor joist above Van Der Woning’s apartment. Penner said the vent cover was not sealed and could access the joist after removing two screws.
“Once the screws were removed without any manipulation, the actual ducting had fallen down. It was quite flexible in movement. I could see right through into the whole area. My arm would have fit through,” Penner said.
Penner told the court she made notes on two specific disks marked ‘LSD’ which previous witness Cpl. Barry Salt said was a popular child porn identifier.
Salt examined the hard drive of a computer seized from Waselenkoff’s home and found evidence of child porn in the laptop’s deleted files. Because the files were deleted so were access times and dates.
“Even though I don’t have a date and time associated to it, it’s still an artifact that took place on the computer,” he said.
Orris asked Salt to explain the laptop’s web browsing history which included links to porn sites, including child porn sites. Porn categories included in the history were “teens” and “old men and teens."
If someone were to put those two terms in a search engine, it would likely lead to adult pornography or “40 million hits," Orris said.
Salt agreed, but noted there was evidence of file sharing porn sites on the computer’s hard drive.
“If you’re just (searching those terms) in Google you’re getting a ton of hits,” he said. “In a file sharing program, you’re going to get child porn. You’re not going to get accidental adult porn."
He added the browsing on the computer appeared to be directed rather than accidental.
Crown's cross examination of Waselenkoff will continue Wednesday morning.
-This story was updated at 5:58 p.m., May 12 with information from the afternoon court session.
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