Man jailed over incest stories

MEGAN GILLIS, Courts Bureau

, Last Updated: 7:43 AM ET

OTTAWA -- A man got the minimum sentence of 14 days in jail Thursday for possessing child pornography — stories about sex involving teen girls and incest he wrote himself and never tried to publish or share.

Judge Hugh Fraser called the facts in the case of Michael Jay Thomas “rather unique” because it dealt only with written material.

Thomas, 43, pleaded guilty to one count of possessing child pornography. The 10 stories found on a computer hard drive are now sealed.

“We don’t have real, live victims in this particular case,” defence lawyer Catherine Huot said in sentencing submissions.

The law defines child pornography as material whose “dominant characteristic is the description, for a sexual purpose, of sexual activity” with someone under 18.

Under the law, an accused could try to argue artistic merit as a defence.

The Crown had sought three to four months in jail.

Thomas was charged after police were contacted in December 2008 by employees of Future Shop — where he worked — regarding written material found on a demo computer.

His resume was in the same folder.

Thomas admitted that he’d written some of the stories and also edited material he found on the Internet.

Fraser concluded the collection was small, involved teens and Thomas poses little risk to kids.

He went to the Royal Ottawa Hospital for help on his own. A psychiatrist did phallometric testing and found him to be a low risk to reoffend. He was even lower risk where “live children” are concerned.

Thomas had no criminal record and has already suffered, Fraser said.

He’s lost his job; his wife of 16 years “wants nothing to do with him”; and his religious community, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, are aware of what he’s done.

Thomas has to submit a DNA sample to the national registry and will be a registered sex offender for a decade.

During a two-year probation order, he has to take any treatment suggested by a psychiatrist, stay off the Internet and away from girls under 18 without supervision.

megan.gillis@sunmedia.ca


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