A former Altona police officer sentenced to prison for child pornography offences has been ordered to serve another 18 months in custody after he continued to offend while on bail and parole.
Tony Neufeld, 39, pleaded guilty Thursday to failing to comply with conditions of a recognizance and failing to comply with a prohibition order.
"It is clear that Mr. Neufeld has an unhealthy relationship and addiction to pornography," Crown attorney Melissa Hazelton told provincial court Judge Dale Harvey. "His behaviour on release speaks to his instability and overall risk."
In July 2017, Neufeld was sentenced to four years in prison after he pleaded guilty to three counts of making child pornography in connection to three victims, one of whom he met in his capacity as a police officer.
Neufeld had been on full parole for just two months last October when his parole was revoked and he was taken back into custody. Court heard during a meeting, Neufeld’s parole officer asked to examine his cellphone and found pictures of Neufeld and his girlfriend at Cirque du Soleil and nude pictures of Neufeld, violating conditions that he not attend locations where children are expected to be present and not possess pornography.
A month later, Neufeld’s brother, who had been asked to look after Neufeld’s car while he was in custody, contacted the parole officer to say he had found two laptop computers and a USB stick in the trunk. A subsequent examination by RCMP uncovered 7,500 pornographic images and videos, including hundreds of images of bestiality.
RCMP investigators were still analyzing Neufeld’s electronic devices on Dec. 9, 2019 when Corrections Service Canada alerted them Neufeld was to be rereleased on parole that day.
According to Neufeld’s parole officer, the Parole Board of Canada "was not aware of the pornography found on these devices at the time they made the decision to release him," Hazelton said.
Police arrested Neufeld that same day and transported him to D Division headquarters for an interview, where he denied ownership of the electronic devices.
Further investigation revealed Neufeld had been active on pornographic websites four years earlier while on bail and last year while on day parole and posted nude and "Photoshopped" images of two women known to him. RCMP spoke to both women and "neither of them were aware the pictures had been posted," Hazelton said.
Parole board documents describe Neufeld as having no difficulty with community supervision while on bail, a factor which was considered in granting his rerelease on parole.
"As I turns out, he did have some difficulty, he just didn’t get caught," Hazelton said.
Because Neufeld remains on parole for his 2017 conviction, he was eligible for credit of 1.5 days for every day served prior to his sentencing Thursday. Defence lawyer Rachel Wood urged Harvey to sentence Neufeld to a combination of time served and house arrest, arguing anything longer would be "crushing" to someone suffering from a powerful addiction to pornography
Wood said it was a sign of "progress" that Neufeld was found in possession of only adult pornography and not child pornography.
"He is the first person to recognize he needs support," Wood said. "He recognizes that there has to be something in place to manage these urges."
Harvey said he accepted Neufeld genuinely wanted to change, "but your failure to follow the court orders can’t be excused by a sentence that would allow you to be released today."
Harvey credited Neufeld for time served, reducing his remaining sentence to just under 10 months.
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