A former Vernon Mountie was convicted Friday of possessing and downloading child pornography, and he’ll be in jail one more day for the crime.
Ryan Hampton has already spent seven months behind bars for the 2013 crime, and for that Justice Barry Davies granted him one-and-a-half time credit, amounting to 10-and-a-half months served.
The minimum mandatory sentence Hampton faced was six months, so the time served plus a day sentence is what Davies called “reasonable.”
“Downloading and possessing child pornography are serious charges because the ability and willingness to do so, not only demeans society in general, but also encourages the production of such heinous materials,” Davies said.
Hampton can’t be blamed for the act of producing child pornography, he explained. But his role in the supply chain ensures there’s incentive for others to do so and that’s why there is a prison sentence attached to the crime.
“He mustn’t be punished for their actions, but for his,” he said, noting that he found that Hampton downloaded images of child porn on two occasions over a short period of time.
Davies also pointed out that Hampton had suffered hard time, for the crime he committed.
Sex crimes against children aren’t received well by other inmates, let alone those who are former Mounties, so Hampton has spent much of the last seven months in solitary confinement.
Davies also pointed out that during his confinement in Kelowna cells, as the trial was underway, his former colleagues had been “less than kind” to him.
And, as he is released into the community with probationary terms, it’s unlikely Hampton will have an easy go of things, he said.
“He will never be a police officer again, he lost his career and he lost his family,” said Davies.
In addition to the child porn charge, Hampton was found guilty of six counts of breaching court orders to contact his ex wife, Const. Valerie Little.
Little is the person who turned Hampton in to police, after she found a jump drive with images of child porn in May of 2013.
That jump drive had 60 images and three videos of activity Davies said fit the description of child porn.
Over the course of the trial, the defence tried to convince the court that Little had been the one to download the child porn in an attempt to frame and extort Hampton as their relationship eroded.
While Davies conceded some of Little’s testimony over the two week trial was suspect—especially her claims that she wasn’t tech savvy enough for such subterfuge— he didn’t believe the whole of her evidence was suspect enough to throw out entirely.
In particular, he noted, Hampton had mentioned he had downloaded child porn “by accident” to several colleagues. He told those colleagues that it was an accident that occurred when he was trolling for “young women” on porn sites.
He also said that the information on the jump drive was either a solitary image or a collection of web addresses where the porn was found. Also, that Little wanted him to sign over the deed to their shared home, and was blackmailing him with the drive.
Davies pointed out that in discussions with his colleagues, he never once said that it was Little who downloaded the images. That narrative, he said, didn’t show up until much further down the road.
Hampton must travel to Alberta after he is released from custody to face drunk driving charges.
Hampton, a father of five, maintains his innocence, and is expected to appeal the decision.