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Crime

Philip Chicoine facing lengthy sentence for child porn charges

WATCH ABOVE: A Saskatoon courtroom heard more unsettling details Thursday, as the sentencing hearing resumed for a man who possessed more than 47 hundred unique child pornography images. Ryan Kessler reports.

WARNING: Some people may find some of the contents of this story disturbing.

Philip Michael Chicoine could be handed the longest sentence in Saskatchewan history for his type of child pornography offences if a judge accepts the Crown’s recommendation.

Chicoine, 27, was arrested in March following an investigation by the Saskatchewan Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) unit and pleaded guilty to 40 child pornography-related charges the following month.

READ MORE: Saskatoon man’s ‘depraved’ child porn collection is detailed in court

The Saskatoon man possessed more than 4,700 unique child porn images, which included graphic, violent sexual acts.

From 2011 to 2017, Chicoine paid thousands of dollars to women in Romania and the Philippines to facilitate live-streamed sex shows.

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The Crown is arguing for a 17-year sentence, which would be unprecedented for this type of offending that didn’t include the accused physically touching a victim.

Crown prosecutor Lana Morelli argued Chicoine’s crimes are on par with hands-on crimes and is equally as culpable as the person who committed the physical offence.

“To be quite honest, there is nothing like this accused and his offences,” Morelli said in court.

Chicoine was also a party to breaches of trust committed by family members abusing children under Chicoine’s direction, Morelli argued.

READ MORE: Saskatoon teacher facing child porn charges headed to preliminary hearing

Defence lawyer Val Harvey recommended a seven-year sentence, based in part on Chicoine’s willingness to seek treatment, his lack of a criminal record and the fact he pleaded guilty.

The 27-year-old has expressed empathy for his victims and remorse for how his actions have “crushed” his otherwise healthy, supportive and loving family, Harvey said.

During her submissions, Harvey stated Chicoine has difficulty articulating what he’s thinking and feeling and has “been alone most of his life.”

“He found a community where he was accepted,” Harvey said, referring to people Chicoine communicated with over the course of his offending.

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Chicoine declined to speak when the judge asked if he had anything to say.

The judge’s decision is expected in September.