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Former Okanagan journalist avoids child porn prosecution

KELOWNA – An Okanagan journalist has avoided prosecution on three child pornography charges by agreeing to a one year peace bond designed to prevent him from writing material that advocates or counsels sexual activity with children.

Former Peachland View newspaper reporter David Andrew Preston, 52,  was charged after engaging in written on-line conversations with an undercover RCMP officer who called herself Honey Hot Pot and claimed to be a single mom with two children.

Preston logged onto the chat room site in June 2013 under the name Active Family.

He said he was sexually active with his four young children, but the prosecutor says Preston was sharing fantasies, and there is no evidence of actual victims.

Preston wrote similar things to other people in chat room conversations.

In Kelowna court Tuesday, the defence lawyer said Preston’s behaviour was related to his subsequent diagnosis of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder for which he is taking psychological treatment and medications.

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The lawyer called Preston’s arrest a “blessing in disguise” as it led to answers for his behaviours.

Terms of the peace bond include Preston having no contact with children under 18 years of age unless in the presence of another adult who has been approved by his probation officer.

Preston must also allow police to access his personal computer which must not be loaded with peer-to-peer conversation software.

If he breaches the terms of the order, Preston could forfeit a $5,000 recognizance and face criminal prosecution.

Preston and his wife engaged in a high-five salute after the sentencing hearing.