Tanner Klassen was sentenced to two years in prison for possession of child pornography. (Facebook)

Two years jail for Kelowna man caught with nearly 30,000 child porn files

Tanner Klassen, 26, tried to have his sentencing dismissed, claiming charter rights were violated

A Kelowna man convicted of possessing over 27,000 photos and 1,000 videos containing child pornography was sentenced to two years in prison followed by three years of probation in a provincial courtroom in Kelowna on March 13.

But that sentence did not come down without a fight.

Tanner Klassen, 26, attempted to have his sentencing dismissed by claiming he was not sentenced in a reasonable time, violating his charter rights.

According to the court, Klassen was found guilty on Aug. 9, 2019, just over 16 months after his March 2018 arrest.

His sentencing was delayed by six months because the Crown disagreed with certain aspects of his pre-sentence reports requiring the reports to be reordered.

As such, defence lawyer Cory Armour made an application that Klassen’s charter rights had been breached, based on the Ontario Court of Appeal’s 2018 ruling R. v. Charley which puts a five-month limit on post-verdict delays.

That application was denied by judge Cathaline Heinrichs, who found the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision does not apply in B.C. as its own appellate court has a ruling, R. v. S.C.W., which found there is no fixed amount of time post-verdict that constitutes an unreasonable delay.

“S.C.W. has not been overturned in British Columbia, nor decided differently by a higher court,” said the Heinrichs.

“The time from Mr. Klassen’s verdict to the date scheduled for sentencing was reasonable. I have considered the seriousness of the charges as they relate to sentence, the reasons it took the time it did and the limited prejudice to the accused.”

As a result, the judge found no unreasonable delay in the matter and Klassen’s charter rights had not been breached.

Klassen was charged on March 23, 2018, after accidentally selling a TV with a USB flash drive hidden in a secret compartment. Klassen asked the individual to retrieve the device for him, but curious as to what was on the device, the man looked and found various files containing child porn with children as young as three-years-old. Klassen was charged after the individual went to the police.

Klassen claimed he received the drive in 2011 or 2012, when he was in Grade 11 or 12, from a group of middle school kids.

“He told the author (of the pre-sentence report) that he intentionally did not view all the images but could not adequately explain why he maintained possession of the child pornography if he was not using it,” said Heinrichs.

“Mr. Klassen acknowledged owning the USB drive but dismissed much of the case as a misunderstanding.”

Klassen said he hadn’t used the drive since receiving it. However, the device was found in a TV manufactured in 2013.

While out on bail, Klassen’s then-girlfriend claimed she saw more child pornography on his phone. The Crown did not pursue charges on that matter.

The Crown was seeking a sentence between 18 and 24 months while defence sought an eight- to 10-month sentence.

Heinrich decided in favour of the Crown, imposing the harsher two-year sentence.

Klassen will also be on the sex-offender registry for 20 years and has been defined as a “moderate risk to re-offend.”

As Klassen was being taken away by the sheriff, he asked if he was allowed to say goodbye to his family.

“No,” the sheriff said bluntly.


@michaelrdrguez
michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com

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