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Senior from Gibsons caught viewing child porn sentenced to 10 months

74-year-old pleaded guilty after police seized 1,500-2,500 images

WARNING: Article contains graphic details.

A senior who was caught by police in the act of viewing child pornography in his home in Gibsons was sentenced to 10 months in prison.

Peter Donald Sheffield, 74, was sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Nov. 13 after pleading guilty in 2019 to possession of child pornography.

According to court documents, the Integrated Child Exploitation Unit found that a computer was logged into a program that was sharing more than 90 files containing child pornography. Investigation led to Sheffield’s IP address in Gibsons.

When police executed a search warrant Dec. 6, 2017, Sheffield answered the door with margarine in his hand, wearing neither pants nor underwear. The officer “pushed past” and found a laptop computer playing a video file depicting “two prepubescent boys engaged in fellatio.”

Three computers were seized as well as an external hard drive and three USB sticks and a search of those devices found “between 1,600 and 2,600 images” of boys and girls “engaged in various sexual acts.”

Sheffield confessed to getting his “jollies” from viewing child pornography, but said “that he does not bother children, nor does he harm them,” court documents showed. He said he was ashamed of accessing child pornography but didn’t realize it was a crime, and a psychologist reported Sheffield is a “moderate risk” to re-offend.

The widower, who walks with a cane, expressed “an extreme fear of going into custody.” The Crown asked for a 12-15-month sentence, while the defence asked for a conditional sentence.

Justice Miriam Gropper said from the community’s perspective, “a sentence that involves Mr. Sheffield continuing to reside in his own home with a computer as he wishes does not reflect any punishment whatsoever” and would not reflect the harm caused by child pornography in re-victimizing children who have been sexually abused.

She sentenced Sheffield to 10 months in custody followed by two years’ probation, during which time he cannot visit public parks, pools, community centres and the like and will have limitations on his internet use.

READ ALSO: Man sentenced in Nanaimo court for child porn possession and distribution

READ ALSO: Nanaimo man sentenced for possessing child pornography



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