Wednesday, August 25, 1999

Southam Newspapers

p. A25.

Appeal may hinge on B.C. porn case

EDMONTON — An Alberta man wants to use a controversial B.C. appeal court decision to help fight his conviction for possessing child pornography.

Lawyer Deborah Stewart, who represents Dale Thomas Weir of Stony Plain, told three Alberta Court of Appeal justices yesterday that she should be allowed to expand her appeal of his case so she can challenge the constitutionality of the law he was found guilty of breaking.

In May 1996, Weir, a former special constable and supervisor in document services for the city police, received 30 child-porn images via e-mail from a friend.

The images clogged Weir's e-mail and were discovered by an Internet provider after he asked for technical assistance. He was convicted in January 1998 and sentenced to 60 days in jail. He has remained on bail while the case is appealed.

Stewart said she wants to draw on the June 30 John Sharpe decision by the B.C. appeal court.

The Vancouver man was acquitted of possessing child pornography in January by a judge who said the law violated people's rights to privacy and freedom of expression.

The B.C. court of Appeal upheld the ruling, saying the law was too broad and prohibited some activities which should be legal.

Sharpe's case is going to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Stewart said she hoped that Alberta apeal justices would fasttrack the Weir case so it can be sent on to the Supreme Court and possibly heard at the same time as Sharpe's case.

A constitutional challenge has not been part of Weir's case, and Crown prosecutor Greg Lepp said it's too late to include it now.

The Alberta appeal judges reserved their decision.

— Southam Newspapers

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Created: August 25, 1999
Last modified: January 19, 2001
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