Kamloops man who exchanged pizza, cash for nude photos of teen will not serve more time | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops man who exchanged pizza, cash for nude photos of teen will not serve more time

September 20, 2019 - 6:00 PM

KAMLOOPS - Crown prosecutors have lost in their bid to have a Kamloops man kept in jail longer after a B.C. Supreme Court judge dismissed an application to appeal his six-month sentence.

Justin Harvey McGowan was sentenced on March 12 after pleading guilty to one count of arranging a sexual offence against a child and possession of child pornography. He was also given a two-year probation which prohibits him from going to any public park, public swimming area or any centre where people under the age of 18 are present or expected to be present. He was also ordered to register as a sex offender for ten years.

Justice Joel Groves heard the arguments of McGowan’s sentence appeal in early July and reserved his decision until today, Sept. 19.

Crown prosecutor Frank Caputo had asked for a 12- to 18-month sentence range for McGowan. Caputo said the sentence imposed by Judge Roy Dickey was unfit for the severity of the crime and that the trial judge failed to adequately address a number of principles by law in imposing the sentence.

In coming to his decision, Groves said he looked at several factors including how McGowan has acted in terms of modifying his behaviour to address his underlying problems to not reoffend.

He’s continued his attendance with alcoholics and narcotics anonymous and has continued to receive mental health counselling, Groves said.

“The accused provided numerous letters of reference suggesting his actions were totally out of character,” Groves said.

McGowan’s early guilty plea was also another mitigating factor, the judge said.

Court heard McGowan communicated with a 13-year-old girl through an app called Whisper, which provides its users with anonymity. McGowan responded to a post written by the victim that read “super bored, feeling risky, anyone want to meet up with me in Kamloops?”

Despite knowing the girl’s age, McGowan responded to the girl and asked her for nude photos which she replied no.

He resorted to purchasing the young girl pizza and dessert and had it delivered to her house in exchange for nude photos. After the girl sent the photos, he asked her to come his house.

McGowan’s lawyer, Don Campbell, told the court his client was suffering from emotional distress because his family life had fallen apart when the offence occurred. Campbell also said McGowan was going through a five-day bender using both alcohol and cocaine when the offence took place.

Court heard McGowan owns his own business and financially supports his five children. His lawyer says it was a long process to work with the ministry to ameliorate their concerns so he is still able to see his children.

The six-month sentence that was imposed was fit and reasonable and therefore dismissed the appeal application, Groves said.

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