Prominent realtor’s child porn trial starts in BC Supreme Court in Chilliwack

Ian Robert Meissner faces four counts including accessing and possession child pornography

The nuances of basic computer usage and internet technology were being pored over in a B.C. Supreme Court room in Chilliwack this week during the child pornography trial of a prominent local realtor.

Ian Robert Meissner is charged with one count each of possessing child pornography and accessing child pornography from July 2010, one count each of possessing child pornography and accessing child pornography from August 2012, and one count of importing or distributing child pornography from February 2014.

A past director of the Chilliwack Arts Council and past president of the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board, Meissner assumed the role of president of the Rotary Club of Chilliwack in late June 2016, but stepped down after the charges were made public.

On day one of the trial on Feb. 4, Crown counsel Dorothy Tsui explained that the charges stemmed from a report by Google about an upload of child pornography via its now defunct photo service Picasa.

“From there what occurred was that officers conducted an investigation into the IP addresses with the upload and these IP addresses [came] back to Mr. Meissner’s place of employment and his residence,” Tsui explained in opening statements.

Search warrants were obtained in 2015 and child pornographic images were found on three seized exhibits, Tsui told the court.

• READ MORE: Chilliwack realtor in trouble over child pornography charges

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The report from Google about the images came through the National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre, with the technical part of the investigation being conducted by the RCMP’s Integrated Technological Crime Unit (ITCU).

Tsui said the Crown would call five witnesses: three local investigators involved in the execution of search warrants, a civilian member of the ITCU, and an RCMP member of the ITCU.

The search warrant was executed on Meissner’s home on Jan. 7, 2015, more than four years ago.

Day two of the trial on Feb. 4 involved testimony from Cpl. Darryl Anderson who explained links were found on Meissner’s computer to a number of sexually explicit stories involving underage girls posted to a site entitled “Alt Sex Stories Text Repository.”

Meissner’s lawyer Martin Finch began by explaining the case would be a “fairly technical” one, that involved discussing how the technology has changed over the last decade.

Finch began cross-examination of Anderson on Feb. 6 in court, asking numerous detailed questions about how child pornographic images, videos and stories are generally accessed, but also question about malware, Trojan horse viruses, and the nature of sharing collections of images on various platforms.

Finch asked questions about whether they found evidence that Meissner had been involved in chat groups about child pornography, and the answer was “no.”

The defence appears to be going in the direction of suggesting that anything accessed on websites was done so accidentally, and anything downloaded on to his computer was also done inadvertently in Meissner’s capacity as an amateur photographer.

“To your knowledge is there anything nefarious about Picasa,” Finch asked Anderson.

“No,” he responded.

“Picasa isn’t a resource that is used particularly for child pornography,” Finch asked.

“No,” Anderson explained, adding that is why it was reported by Google, because the company has a responsibility to report evidence of child pornography uploaded using its systems to a national reporting centre in the U.S.

The trial that began Monday, Feb. 4 continued Feb. 5 and 6, and was scheduled to run until Feb. 8 at least.


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

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