Crown appeals decision of police entrapment


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Prosecutors are appealing a judge’s decision striking down a Manitoba man’s conviction for luring a minor over the internet.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/07/2022 (256 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Prosecutors are appealing a judge’s decision striking down a Manitoba man’s conviction for luring a minor over the internet.

Michael Lymych, 36, was arrested in 2019, as part of a Winnipeg Police Service investigation, called Project Hook, which targeted the online luring of minors.

Queen’s Bench Justice Jeffrey Harris convicted Lymych after trial of one count of luring and making sexually explicit material available to a minor. However, in a ruling last month, Harris quashed the convictions after finding police had entrapped Lymych.

In a notice of appeal filed July 15, Crown prosecutors argue Harris “erred in his application of the law of entrapment.” Court documents do not detail the error or errors alleged by the Crown.

In his application for a judicial stay, Lymych argued police had no reason to believe he would commit a crime and, but for the actions of an undercover police officer posing as a 14-year-old girl, he would not have been induced to commit one.

Court heard at trial Lymych sent pictures of his erect penis to an undercover police officer he made contact with on dating website Plenty of Fish and believed to be a 14-year-old girl named “Katie,” telling her: “This is yours now if you want to date exclusively.”

Police arrested Lymych days later, after he drove to a Tim Hortons restaurant on Marion Street expecting to meet “Katie.”

Lymych’s lawyer argued the accused initially steered his online conversation with “Katie” away from sex, and only engaged in illegal activity after the officer convinced him to take their conversation offline.

Police must have a “reasonable suspicion” an accused is already involved in criminal activity before offering them an opportunity to commit a crime, Harris said in his June 23 ruling.

“The police must not engage in random virtue testing,” the judge said. “The decision to intrude into an individual’s private life and offer them an opportunity to commit a crime is justified only if the grounds predate the measure.”

Dean Pritchard

Dean Pritchard
Courts reporter

Someone once said a journalist is just a reporter in a good suit. Dean Pritchard doesn’t own a good suit. But he knows a good lawsuit.

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