Convicted Kelowna pedophile wins appeal to use the Internet | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Convicted Kelowna pedophile wins appeal to use the Internet

January 01, 2021 - 7:00 AM

A Kelowna man sentenced to seven years in jail for sexual interference of a young girl and making child pornography has won an appeal allowing him to use the Internet again.

The three-judge panel at the B.C. Court of Appeal varied an earlier ruling that prohibited Internet use for Steven Craig Walsh for 20 years.

After the Dec. 29 B.C. Court of Appeal ruling, Walsh will now be able to use the Internet on condition that he doesn't communicate with anyone under the age of 16 or access pornography.

An earlier court ruling stipulated Walsh could only use the Internet on an electronic device that had an RCMP approved program installed that would monitor and restrict what he accessed. However, the Crown and defence lawyers have since stated they are not aware that any such program exists.

Appeals Court Justice Bruce Butler wrote that courts have recognized the internet is ubiquitous and hard to escape.

"Access to the Internet has become almost essential for everyday life. The importance of the Internet as a tool for facilitating the activities of everyday life has been magnified in the past year by the COVID-19 pandemic," he wrote. "Most people have increased their use of and reliance on electronic devices to access the Internet for shopping, communicating with friends and family, conducting business, attending classes, banking, accessing news, music and entertainment."

Separately, Walsh had also appealed to the court to allow him to have his partner, who is the mother of his young daughter, supervise his contact with his daughter. His probation order currently only allows him to have contact with his biological daughter in the presence of a court-approved supervisor.

The original judge had refused to allow Walsh's partner to become the court-approved supervisor based in part on the fact that she commenced a relationship with Walsh after he'd been charged with a serious sexual offence against a child and remained in the relationship knowingly.

Butler said that while the judge had made the decision based on a "broad generalization" rather than "relevant considerations" it did not change the fact that's Walsh's partner should not be granted approval to be the supervisor and dismissed Walsh's appeal.

It is not clear from the decision whether Walsh remains incarcerated or has been released on parole. He’d previously appealed against the length of his jail sentence but lost.

The case dates back to 2012 when staff at a Kelowna hotel told police a man and a young girl he said was his daughter were seen kissing in a hot tub. He was arrested and released on bail shortly afterwards.

In 2016 Walsh pleaded guilty to counts of sexual interference of a minor and production of child pornography. He was 47 years old at the time.

He was sentenced to seven years in jail followed by 20 years prohibition. The sentencing judge described his actions as "depraved and loathsome" and that his actions had left the young girl suicidal.

The judge in the original case dismissed a psychiatric report submitted to the court that said Walsh was considered a low risk to re-offend. The judge said Walsh had "no remorse," and not the "slightest hint of compassion."

Whilst on bail Walsh started a relationship with a woman and the two began living together and had a daughter.


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