A former Liberal Party candidate from Orillia, Ontario has avoided jail time on a child pornography charge. He will instead be on house arrest.
59-year-old Garry Hawes, was given a 240-day conditional sentence and 24 months probation in a Thursday sentencing. Orillia Matters reports the Crown had asked for a 90-day jail sentence.
The images containing child pornography were traced to Hawes IP address last year. The OPP then seized his laptop and found the images using a forensic analysis of a private web browser.
Images contained children as young as 10-years-old. However, Justice Angela McLeod says that Hawes had sought counselling for major depression and showed remorse during the court hearing.
"I take judicial notice that were Mr. Hawes to be incarcerated, he would not receive any treatment or counselling in a provincial institution. If he remains in the community, he will continue with his psychiatric treatment. This serves to address the safety of the community in the long run," wrote Justice McLeod.
"I find that the circumstances of this defendant and of his crime (such a low number of images) are indeed exceptional."
Under the sentence, Hawes will be forced to remain on his property with some exemptions like medical and legal appointments and work. He will also have his internet restricted and he cannot communicate with those under the age of 16.
Hawes had been active in the Liberal Party of Canada. He was the Liberal candidate in the riding of Simcoe North in the 2019 federal election.