Constitutional challenge in Kelowna court to child sex law

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Charter challenge in Kelowna court to child luring law – Feb 6, 2018

A Kamloops man who was a court sheriff when he was charged with three child sex offenses is challenging the constitutional validity of one of the offenses.

Kevin Johnston was charged after he was publicly identified last August by the vigilante group Creep Hunters.

A group member went online pretending to be a 14-year-old girl.

It’s alleged Johnston sent naked pictures of himself and arranged to meet with the pretend teenager.

“He had told me that he had placed an ad about a father and daughter fantasy he had,” said the group member.

In Kelowna court Tuesday, Johnston’s lawyers pointed to a recent court ruling involving a Surrey RCMP officer also charged with child sex offenses.

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The judge in that case ruled one subsection of the child luring law is unconstitutional because it violates the presumption of innocence.

It says if a person claims to be under the age of consent, that representation is proof that the accused believed it was true, unless there’s evidence to the contrary.

Now the judge in the Johnston case must also decide if there’s a constitutional flaw in Canada’s child luring law.

However, it’s possible the Crown will argue the charter breach in the Surrey matter was justified under another section of the constitution. The prosecution hasn’t yet decided whether to make that application.

While the legal wrangling continues to play out in the courts, Johnston is scheduled to go to trial in Kelowna in May.

He no longer works for BC Sheriff Services.

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