Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Manitoba cruise ship musician freed on bail while facing child-porn charges

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Sean Bell is pictured in a Facebook profile photo.

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Sean Bell is pictured in a Facebook profile photo.

A Manitoba-based musician charged with stashing child pornography on an international cruise ship has been freed on bail and allowed to return home.

Sean Richard Bell, 36, was arrested June 3 when his employer – the Holland America Veendam – made a scheduled stop in Halifax. Officials with Canada Border Services made the discovery while doing a routine search of the ship in port. The images were allegedly contained on an external hard drive.

Bell, a resident of Morden, was detained in custody in Nova Scotia on four charges including possessing, smuggling and importing child pornography. On Thursday, a judge granted him bail after Bell agreed to post a $5,000 surety.

His conditions will allow him to live in his hometown, provided he has no contact with children under the age of 16 and stays off the Internet.

None of the allegations has been proven and Bell is presumed innocent. No trial dates have been set.

Bell is a performer in Neptunes Trio on board the ship, and has been working cruise lines since 2006, according to an online biography.

"He loves playing music and traveling so he’s living out his dream job. If you dream it, you can do it!!" his profile reads. Bell is a vocalist and pianist who specializes in jazz, ballroom, rock and pop genres.

Under new federal legislation, Bell faces a mandatory jail sentence if convicted of the alleged crimes.

www.mikeoncrime.com

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