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A sorry excuse

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He claims he went searching for polka music – and ended up with a collection of child pornography.

Of all the excuses I’ve heard over the years, this one ranks right up there with the most absurd. And, thankfully, it was exposed as a fraud in a Winnipeg courtroom this week.

Frank Bushby is a 64-year-old retired grandfather who claims he isn’t very sophisticated around computers. Amazingly, he blames his lack of tech savvy on the fact he was caught with a stash of illicit pictures and a video portraying children as young as four being sexually abused by adults.

"I’m very embarrassed...I don’t ever want to see a computer again," Bushby told court. His lawyer claims Bushby somehow accidentally downloaded the graphic material last year while searching for polka music files on the free online computer network known as "Limewire" in 2009.

His lawyer said the Internet can be a very confusing place for someone like Bushby, who actually tried to erase the files. RCMP were able to track his online footprints after seeing his username pop up during an ongoing investigation.

Kudos to Crown attorney Terry McComb and provincial court Judge Carena Roller for calling shenanigans on Bushby’s claims.

They noted that, in addition to the material found on his computer, police also uncovered evidence that Bushby had done several Google searches in which he typed words and phrases that clearly indicated what he was seeking.

And it certainly wasn’t polka.

Bushby, and his lawyer, had no real answer for those very specific searches, other than to say he was drinking heavily at the time and has no memory of them.

How convenient.

When it came time to hand down sentence, Roller rejected Bushby’s bid to serve his mandatory jail sentence on weekends only. He wanted to serve his penalty intermittently, which would allow him to remain in the community during the week to care for his ailing 89-year-old mother.

Bushby, who has no prior criminal record, was given 90 days of straight time and hauled out of court in handcuffs. He was also placed on three years of supervised probation, which includes sex-offender counselling, no computer access and not being alone with any children under the age of 18.

Perhaps he should also be banned from polka.

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About Mike McIntyre

Journalist, national radio show host, author, pundit and cruise director ... Mike McIntyre loves to keep busy.

Mike is the justice reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press, where he has worked since 1997. He produces and hosts the weekly talk radio show Crime and Punishment, which runs on the Corus Radio Network in several Canadian cities.

Born and bred in Winnipeg, Mike graduated from River East Collegiate and completed his journalism studies in the Creative Communications program at Red River College.

He and his wife, Chassity, have two children.

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