PROCEDURE - Trial judge’s duties - Charge or directions - Defences

Law360 Canada (September 13, 2022, 6:03 AM EDT) -- Appeal by LaFrance from his conviction on nine counts. Application by LaFrance to admit new evidence in support of his contention that he had ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. LaFrance was convicted of two counts of sexual interference of a person under the age of 16 years, two counts of making child pornography, two counts of possessing child pornography, one count of luring for the purpose of making child pornography, one count of luring for the purpose of sexual interference, and one count of invitation to sexual touching of a person under the age of 16. LaFrance was a professional photographer. The complainants were two 15-year-old children who aspired to be models. LaFrance conducted separate photoshoots with the children for the purpose of creating modelling portfolios for them. During the photoshoots, he took photos of the children’s exposed breasts, had sexualized conversations, and touched one of the children’s breasts and vagina. LaFrance testified in his own defence and stated that his intent was to create beautiful artistic images of the children and not to make child pornography. He claimed that the photographs showing exposed breasts and vaginas were taken by accident and that he did not notice the nudity until he saw the images in court. He denied touching either of the children in a sexual manner and denied conversations of a sexual nature. LaFrance took the position that the trial judge erred in a number of ways, including by failing to put to the jury, as not having an air of reality, the defence of a legitimate purpose, related to artistic merit. He further submitted that the trial judge erred by permitting cross-complainant and cross-count use of similar fact evidence and by failing to give a mid-trial instruction on a concern relating to jury impartiality when a whisper was observed between jurors. LaFrance also took the position that he was provided ineffective assistance by counsel, to his prejudice, resulting in a miscarriage of justice....
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