Justice Patrick Hurley found Peter Palmer guilty of the charges following trial.
Palmer’s charges date back to 2018. In January that year, Belleville police began a number of on-line investigations in an attempt to identify local online predators and persons in possession of child pornography. After a one-month-long investigation, on Feb. 7, 2018, Belleville police arrested Palmer and charged him.
Palmer entered guilty pleas to the possession and distribution charges. He had child pornography on his phone and he shared some of those images through an app.
“The making child pornography and making arrangements charge relate to e-mail conversations he had with an undercover Belleville Police Services officer, where the officer posed as the father of a 10-year-old daughter whom he was offering for sexual activity,” stated Crown attorney Lee Burgess. “Mr. Palmer actively engaged in those conversations and ultimately they agreed to meet at a certain time in a remote location where the undercover. officer arrested him.”
While Palmer initially pled guilty to his charges when it came time for sentencing to be delivered he would not acknowledge that he was actually meeting the girl for the purpose of a sexual encounter, Burgess stated. As a result, his plea was struck down and a trial was needed.
During the trial Palmer testified he was not meeting the girl for a sexual encounter, but his evidence was not believed by Justice Hurley.
Palmer is scheduled for sentencing on Nov. 19.
Belleville police have been a member of the provincial strategy to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation on the internet since 2013 — one of 28-member police services in the province.
City police have been involved in many multi-jurisdictional investigations.
Between 2014 and 2017, 16 Canadians were among 150 people worldwide who were arrested and charged with numerous offences including child pornography and sexual assault. One of the arrested was a 36-year-old Belleville man.
In a statement made at the time of Palmer’s arrest, Belleville police chief Ron Gignac said the police service are constantly looking at ways to improve.
“Internet child exploitation, human smuggling and trafficking, child pornography and child luring is a scourge,” he stated. “As citizens we must do our best to prevent children and young people from becoming victims of sinister individuals preying upon our national treasuren — who are our children.”
Gignac urged anyone with information on internet child exploitation to contact the Belleville police, CrimeStoppers or Cybertip.ca.
“By acting upon known information, or acting upon your conscience towards suspected ICE offenders, you might be saving a child from a lifetime of torment and emotional struggles or premature death in many forms,” stated Gignac at the time.