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Toronto Luring a Child Charges Lawyer

Luring a child charges lawyer

Child luring (Criminal Code Section 172.1) is the criminal offence of internet solicitation of minors

It is a criminal offence in Canada to communicate using the internet with a person under the age of 18 for the purpose of committing an offence. Simply communicating with a child online is not itself child luring. It must be for the purpose of committing an enumerated criminal offence. The criminal code specifies various offences depending on the age of the child. Such offences include child pornography, sexual interference, sexual exploitation and invitation to sexual touching. For those under age 16, child abduction offences are included (s. 280 and 281) which means someone can be charged for child luring even without sexual intent.

Child luring is an extremely serious offence which carry a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison, sex offender registrations (OSOR and SOIRA), and Section 161 prohibitions on going to parks, pools, etc. for up to life. While the minimum sentence for child luring is a jail sentence of six months those convicted will also be branded as child sex offenders and face lifelong conditions. They may also be publicly outed as being charged or convicted compounding the stigma and consequences attached to their actions.

An adult must take all reasonable possible steps to confirm the true age of who they meet online

Under Canadian law it is the responsibility of the adult to take all reasonable steps to ascertain the true age of the person they are meeting off the internet for a sexual purpose. Reasonable steps could include asking to see Government ID however most people simply do not do this when meeting people online but they should if there are any questions about the real age of the person they are talking to.

If someone states online they are under 18 or have pictures that appear to be underage the recipient should take aggressive steps to confirm the validity of their actual age. Role playing, just wanting to help them, just seeing if it was true or not, and just wanting to talk are not great defences in court. The burden in court clearly lies on the accused to confirm the age, especially if it comes after a sexually charged conversation.

Just being charged with luring a child results in numerous consequences for the accused regardless of the outcome of their case

Even in a case where the adult does have an innocent mind (truly believes they are of age or has no intention doing anything illegal), if they are charged with child luring they will face tremendous consequences even if they are ultimately found innocent. Just being charged with child luring will likely result in the accused spending time in custody (awaiting bail), possibly have their name reported in the media as being charged, and cost them substantially in legal fees. Further the charge may still show up on vulnerable sector police background checks, cause them to be denied entry into the United States, and result in other lifelong consequences. .

How lawyers defend luring a child charges in court

The Crown must prove that the accused was communicating with the minor for the purpose of committing a criminal offence. Any statements made during the online conversation or in person/over the phone that are sexual or allude to sexual intent will be a factor for the court to consider. In some cases, this evidence may not be strong enough to support a conviction. It would ultimately be up to the Judge or the Jury to decide if the alleged communication took place and to assess its criminality.

Questioning whether the accused actually was the one communicating with the minor

In cases where the accused does not admit to the communication itself, it may be very difficult for the Crown to prove it was actually them sending the messages. Reasonable doubt can sometimes be raised in court that a third party may have been responsible for the messages. This could be someone known to the accused (perhaps intentionally setting them up) or an unknown party in cases where their computer system has been compromised.

Similar to other internet sexual offences, sometimes a spouse, ex, or other individual may set up the accused intentionally for revenge or to gain an advantage in family court relating to child custody, access, or financial distribution of wealth.

Disputing the authenticity of the messages themselves

Depending on the platform of communication allegedly used, the police may not have independent proof that the messages are real. It is relatively easy to fake screenshots of messages. Not all platforms will easily divulge proof to the police supporting the authenticity of the supposed communications. This can include IP addresses, timestamps, content, device used, metadata, and more.

Some internet service providers will provide this information upon a request from the police or with judicial authorization (a warrant). Others may be located in foreign countries and not recognize Canadian law. In many cases, the police have no actual independent confirmation of the legitimacy of the messages and simply rely on what their complainant/witness says they saw or on statements of admission made by the accused.

Each case is different but similar to any other criminal defence matter the accused is best to exercise their right to remain silent. Not admitting to using a particular device itself may be the difference between life ruining criminal child luring charges or walking free.

The complainant's profile stated they were 18+

In cases that arise from communications made over dating websites, the minimum age that can be put on a profile is usually 18. This means that a subsequent communication would need to be made indicating that the actual age is less than that. Mainstream dating or hookup websites/apps like Tinder, POF, Grindr, OkCupid, Badoo, Whisper, MeetMe, Kik, and Skout are an easy way for undercover police officers and other individuals to discover people willing to lure children off the internet. It is not enough for the accused to claim that the initial profile said they were 18+ if there is an acknowledgement of a younger age afterwards or a photo of an underage person is provided.

Some cases turn on whether the accused should have reasonably believed they were speaking with someone underage and/or whether they took reasonable steps to confirm the person was an adult. If it cannot be proven that the accused should have reasonably believed the person they were speaking to was under age 18 then they may be acquitted. Perhaps no representation was made that the person was underage.

It is important to note though that if any sexual activity occurred with an underage individual the burden still rests on the accused to prove they took all reasonable steps to confirm their true age otherwise they could be charged with sexual interference or sexual exploitation.

Section 172.1 (4) No defence

172.1 (4) It is not a defence to a charge under paragraph (1)(a), (b) or (c) that the accused believed that the person referred to in that paragraph was at least eighteen years of age, sixteen years or fourteen years of age, as the case may be, unless the accused took reasonable steps to ascertain the age of the person.

“Reasonable steps” does not just mean “their profile said 18”. It requires much more than that especially if they subsequently said they were under 18, the school grade they were currently in, that they were not old enough to get a driver's license, that they have to hide from their parents, that they are babysitting etc. If their pictures appear underage it also requires much more of an effort to confirm their true current age is 18+. It is always the accused's responsibility under the law to take reasonable steps to confirm the true age especially when they are confronted with statements or other information suggesting the person may be under 18. Virtually all dating websites require a minimum age of 18 so it would be impossible for a profile to state anything less than that.

While it is the responsibility of an adult to take all reasonable steps to ensure the person they are speaking to is of legal age, whether the Judge or Jury will decide their actions constitute child luring beyond a reason of a doubt will depend on the circumstances of each individual case. Not all cases are clear cut and some people are innocent of such charges. It could be a case of mistaken identity, intentional framing (being set up) for numerous reasons/motives, or an innocent mind.

Can child luring charges cause problems for individuals wanting to travel to the United States?

As with any child sexual abuse offence, just being charged with luring a child can be enough for US Customs to deny a person entry. It is considered a moral turpitude offence and the penalties associated with it are well beyond the exemption status.

In 2011, Canadian Alan Sauve was arrested at the U.S. border and charged in Virginia with child luring. Sauve was sentenced to 110 years in prison without the possibility of parole. Similar to child pornography offences, it would be extremely unlikely that someone who is discovered to have a history of child luring charges would be allowed to enter the U.S. if they are not already a U.S. citizen.

Call us today for a free case review

You need lawyers who understand technology, witness cross examinations, Charter applications and have experience defending child luring charges. Luring a child sentences (including for all guilty pleas) result in mandatory lengthy jail terms, sex offender registrations, and other employment, travel, and immigration related consequences that can ruin your life.

Winning acquittals and withdrawn charges often requires more than traditional defence methods. It may be possible to avoid a conviction by raising doubt in your case using highly sophisticated technological and constitutional defence strategies.

    call us: 647-228-5969


  call us: 647-228-5969


Your case will be defended by a fully licensed Practicing Lawyer of the Law Society of Ontario. For more information about our lawyer, click here.

We provide our clients with:
  • 2023 constitutional and technological child porn defences successfully used throughout Canada and the U.S.
  • Flat fee pricing
  • U.S. travel advice and information
  • Help with related immigration issues
  • Employment background check advice/services
  • Fingerprints and records destruction services
  • Lawyer/client privilege
  • Experienced, focused counsel

* Please note:

If you are not a paying client, we cannot answer questions and provide assistance with US travel, immigration, employment background checks, and avoiding a criminal record. This includes those who have already retained other counsel and those whose cases have already been completed.

We only can take calls/emails relating to Ontario, Canada area cases. Please see our FAQ for a listing of the courthouses we service.

Are you a lawyer? If you are defending a child luring related case and are looking for expert advice regarding possible defences, case strategies, and information release management call us at: 647-228-5969.

Please note: We do not accept legal aid certificate cases. All clients are handled on a private retainer only.


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  More Information:

  We provide:
  • 2023 constitutional and technological child luring defences successfully used throughout Canada and the U.S.
  • Flat fee pricing
  • U.S. travel advice and information
  • Help with related immigration issues
  • Employment background check advice/services
  • Fingerprints and records destruction services
  • Lawyer/client privilege
  • Experienced, focused counsel