R. v. Sendel

The Cyber Blog IndiaCase Summary

Alcohol/Drug abuse as a defence in a case involving sextortion and exploitation of minor girls

R. v. Sendel
2023 QCCQ 6210
In the Court of Quebec
Case Number 500-01-195505-190
Before Judge Salvatore Mascia
Decided on September 21, 2023

Relevancy of the Case: Alcohol/Drug abuse as a defence in a case involving sextortion and exploitation of minor girls

Relevant Facts of the Case

  • The accused, Sendel, committed sextortion and exploited the victims, who were minor girls. He had access to their nude photos and videos and threatened them to post sexually explicit content online.
  • The authorities tracked down the accused’s identity by linking his online identity to an IP address he controlled.
  • The police arrested him. However, he entered a guilty plea of luring a child along with the production and possession of child pornography and extortion.
  • He had a criminal record with two convictions and a long history of drug and alcohol abuse.

Prominent Arguments by the Counsels

  • The Crown’s counsel argued that:
    • The gravity of the offence with the aggravating factors warrants a prison sentence of 54 to 60 months.
    • The accused engaged in the acts of child pornography, production, and possession of child pornographic content. The addiction had severe consequences on the young victims.
    • Moreover, he has minimised his responsibility by blaming his actions on alcohol consumption and by downplaying his attraction.
  • The accused’s counsel argued that:
    • During the occurrence of the offence, the accused was abusing drugs and alcohol. He was also struggling with mental health issues. He sought help for alcohol and drug abuse, and started counselling with a sex therapist.
    • The production of child pornography was connected to the infraction of luring. Production was also a part of the offence, therefore, the prison sentences should run concurrently.

Opinion of the Bench

  • The offender understood what exactly he was doing and the seriousness of the offence. The allegations of luring against the accused cannot be linked to grooming.
  • Moreover, the parity, not just the primary objectives of the offences, plays a major role in sentencing.
  • The photos and videos uploaded online can last forever. A victim of child pornography is a victim for life.
  • A court should consider several aggravating factors such as sextortion, negative psychological consequences incurred by sexual abuse, offences of luring, exploitation, and possession for determining a sentence.

Final Decision

  • The court sentenced the accused on different grounds, along with asking him to provide DNA samples and complying with SOIRA requirements. The court also prohibited the accused from communicating with the victims.

Aditi Mangesh Sawant, an undergraduate student at NMIMS Kirit P Mehta School of Law, Mumbai, Khilansha Mukhija, an undergraduate student at the Institute of Law, Nirma University Ahmedabad, and Yagyanseni Acharya, an undergraduate student at VIT School of Law, Chennai, prepared this case summary during their internship with The Cyber Blog India in January/February 2024.