Top court to decide validity of internet luring law and its minimum sentence

TORONTO — The validity of a law against luring a child into sexual activity via the internet and its one-year mandatory minimum sentence will now be decided by Canada’s top court.

In a decision Thursday, the Supreme Court of Canada agreed to hear appeals of a lower court ruling that struck down part of the law and the minimum punishment it calls for as unconstitutional.

The earlier ruling was the latest in a string of court decisions that have struck down tough-on-crime provisions enacted by the former Conservative government under Stephen Harper.

The current case involves Douglas Morrison, a Toronto-area man in his late 60s who posted an ad on Craigslist in 2013: “Daddy looking for his little girl to meet and have some fun with him.”

Morrison, a golf-course groundskeeper in a long-term common-law relationship, ended up having sexually explicit conversations by computer with “Mia,” who was in fact a police officer claiming to be a 14-year-old girl, according to court records. He suggested at one point they meet up, but that didn’t happen.

Police charged him with child luring via computer.

At trial, Morrison said he believed Mia was an adult woman and that they were engaged in role-playing. Craigslist rules required users to be 18 or older.

Supreme Court

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