Two suspects arrested and charged with child pornography offences are scheduled to appear in court today to defend them in the high-profile court case connected to Rehtaeh Parsons, the Nova Scotia teen who committed suicide soon after being bullied online. The 17-year-old Cole Harbour, N.S., teen passed away in April, when her mother decided to take her off life support.
Rehtaeh’s parents later explained that their daughter was sexually assaulted by four boys at a house party at the time she was 15. Consequently, a digital photo of the attack was circulated on the internet that lead to extreme cyber bullying, harassment and humiliation on social media. It was not until recently that charges were laid against two boys in the case. One of whom is charged with creating and distributing child pornography, while the other faces two distribution charges. It is not disclosed as yet whether the suspects will appear in person or if their defence lawyers will appear on their behalf.
A law professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax and the chair of the province’s task force on cyberbullying, Wayne MacKay, commented that the case is a legal anomaly. He explained that “it’s relatively unusual to have young people charged with child pornography, though there are a few other precedents for that.” It was added that “so there are so many new elements that have come out of the Rehtaeh Parsons situation that it seems to be a never-ending process.”
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