Child porn post to Instagram sparked Cornwall investigation, trial hears

The Cornwall courthouse at 29 Second Street West. (Newswatch Group/File)

WARNING: The following story deals with child pornography and may be disturbing to some readers. Discretion is advised.

CORNWALL – A post of a pornographic video involving an 8-year-old girl, uploaded to Instagram in April 2018, led to the eventual arrest of a Cornwall man, a trial heard Thursday.

Jared Hendrie, 27, is charged with one count of possession of child pornography. He pleaded not guilty to the charge during his arraignment and is being tried by Judge Diane Lahaie.

Crown attorney Dave Isbester called two witnesses for the prosecution – the two police officers who conducted the investigation.

Acting Sgt. Matthew Lemire, a 12-year veteran with the Cornwall Police Service and part of the Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) Unit, was first to take the stand.

Lemire testified about the string of law enforcement agencies the information travelled through – Instagram notified the U.S. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) about the 16 second video, who in turn notified the Canadian National Child Exploitation Coordination Center (NCECC), to the Cornwall RCMP and then to the CPS in September 2018 – some seven months later.

Lemire said the CPS applied for a production order from Cogeco to find out the location of the Internet Protocol (IP) address and its subscriber, who police discovered was Krystal Hubert.

The sergeant said he learned through an open search of social media that Hubert was in a relationship with Jared Hendrie.

Based on that information, police obtained a search warrant for a home on Eleventh Street West and seized two cell phones of the five electronic devices they found inside the residence.

Lemire said Hendrie was cooperative during their investigation.

On those two phones, Lemire said they found “numerous images” of child porn – 423 pictures and videos. In one case, one of the phones had the images hidden in a secret vault inside a calculator application (app) called Calculator Plus.

Lemire described to the court three of the pictures he initially found during his search as images of prepubescent girls in various states of undress.

The search is part of a Charter application by defence lawyer Michael Spratt, who argues there were no reasonable and probable grounds for the search and seizure.

Lemire said that child pornography is not easy to obtain and one has to seek it out either through peer-to-peer file transfer, from a known individual or through the dark web.

“The general user cannot stumble upon” child porn, he said.

Under cross examination, Lemire said they never found the video that was uploaded to Instagram.

Det. Const. Austin Clark then took the stand. The officer, who has been with the force since 2008, filled out the ITO (information to obtain) a search warrant.

Clark testified that his grounds for the search were that Hendrie would have had to possess the video in order to upload it to Instagram.

The detective was also of the belief, based on what he learned from Lemire, that there may have been more child pornography because child porn collectors tend to keep and build collections because the pics and videos are “so hard to get, so hard to obtain.”

Clark made the arrest on Nov. 27, 2018. A video of Clark’s interrogation of Hendrie at the police station was then played for the court.

In it, Hendrie claims he has “no idea where they’re (the pictures) coming from.” In the hour-long interview, Hendrie says he has a porn addiction and that he “look(s) up a lot of porn” but claims he’s the victim of clicking on suspicious web links sent to him by people, causing inappropriate material to download.

“I’m addicted to porn but not that kind,” Hendrie states. “I’m not into any of that I swear.”

During the interrogation, when the officer leaves the interview room on three separate occasions, Hendrie can been seen on the video burying his head in his hands.

The trial continued Friday (Jan. 17).

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