Akash Ghotra v. Her Majesty the Queen
(Ontario) (Criminal) (As of Right / By Leave)
Criminal law - Abuse of process - Criminal law - Abuse of process - Entrapment - Child luring - Whether it is entrapment for an undercover officer, using an online profile of a 19 year old female in a general adult chat room, to inform an unsuspecting chat room participant who asks, age, sex, location that she is in fact a 14 year old female in the area - Whether when the undercover officer falsely stated her age as 14 years old, the “opportunity” was thereby created for the appellant to commit the offence alleged (in the absence of any suspicion that the appellant was so inclined) - Whether any and all Internet chat rooms are sufficiently precise virtual “geographic” locations where such crime is “likely occurring” so that the bona fide investigation exception precluded entrapment.
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At trial, the appellant, Mr. Ghotra, was convicted of internet child luring, contrary to s. 172.1(1)(b) of the Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, after communicating with an officer posing as a 14 year old girl in an internet chat room and attending at an agreed meeting place. At the close of the trial, the appellant brought an application for a stay of proceedings on the basis of entrapment. The application was denied.
A majority of the Court of Appeal dismissed the appellant’s appeal from the entrapment ruling. The majority held that the trial judge did not err in concluding that the officer did not provide an opportunity to commit an offence. It was therefore unnecessary to address the issue of whether there was a bona fide investigation. In dissent, Nordheimer J.A. would have allowed the appeal, set aside the conviction, and entered a stay of proceedings based on entrapment. In his view, the officer did provide an opportunity to commit an offence. Nordheimer J.A. also concluded that the officer was not acting pursuant to a bona fide investigation directed towards a chat room. Instead, the officer was engaged in random virtue testing.
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