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Edmonton photographer pleads not guilty to child porn offences


An Edmonton photographer pleaded not guilty to sexual offences against two young female clients as his trial got underway Monday.

Christopher John Lafrance, 51, faces a total of nine charges, including two counts each of making and possessing child pornography, two counts each of sexual interference and luring a child, and one count of invitation to sexual touching.

His jury trial is scheduled until Nov. 8 in Edmonton’s Court of Queen’s Bench. 

The charges against Lafrance stem from two separate incidents involving girls who were under 16, court heard Monday.

Offences against the first complainant are alleged to have happened between May 14, 2016, and June 16, 2016.

Lafrance took photographs of the teenaged girl that met the definition of child pornography, Crown prosecutor Suvidha Kalra said in her opening remarks.

The jury, three women and nine men, also heard that Lafrance allegedly touched the girl’s breasts and vagina.

The second complainant came forward after a media release outlining initial charges against Lafrance.

The offences against her are alleged to have taken place between July 1, 2015 and Aug. 31, 2015.

Court heard from three police officers who were involved in the investigation on Monday.

Det. Steven Hunt, with the Edmonton police child protection unit, testified that he coordinated the search executed on Lafrance’s residence on June 16, 2016.

Thirty items were seized from the home, including a computer, camera equipment, memory sticks, and cell phone. 

Hunt also told the jury that several items of clothing were found at the residence, including lingerie, dresses, and a leather jacket. 

Another leather jacket and heeled boots were also seized from Lafrance’s vehicle, court heard.

A desktop computer was found in Lafrance’s living room, testified RCMP Cpl. Jamie Thortson, who worked at the time for the Internet Child Exploitation Unit of the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT). 

The computer was unlocked and did not contain encryption software, Thortson told the court. 

The digital items seized at Lafrance’s residence were taken by ALERT for further analysis, he said.



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