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Sextortion Lawyer Calgary

At Alberta Legal, we specialize in defending individuals faced with sextortion charges, offering expert legal guidance and support to navigate this complex and sensitive area of law effectively.

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Introduction to Revenge Porn and Sextortion

The internet can be exciting for youths, kids and teens. With 24-hour access to social media and the opportunity to meet new friends around the world, it’s easier than ever for young people to find online love and affection. Along with this has come a troubling new world of intimacy between children and strangers, too, including romantic and sexual relationships that are conducted almost exclusively or totally online.

Sexting, or sexual texting, and “sending nudes,” or racy, sexually charged photos, are increasingly common. In a recent survey, 20% of Canadian teens self-reported sending nude photos of themselves via email, text, or direct messaging (since this is self-reported, the actual total may be much higher). Unfortunately, the teen sending the photo or video may find themselves being blackmailed or extorted to continue the behaviour.

Teens aren’t the only ones engaging in online sexual relationships. Adults may be just as vulnerable as teens to pressure to send nudes to an online paramour, only to discover that person has ill intentions. Sextortion can be a non-physical form that is designed to further sexual behaviour or a way to obtain money.

Protecting Canadians From Online Crime Act

Protecting Canadians From Online Crime Act

In 2015, a new criminal offence was approved by parliament. Distributing Intimate Images Without Consent is a hybrid offence, meaning once someone is charged and the matter is in court, elections must be made by both parties.  This new offence is meant to address sextortion cases such as revenge porn posting and is considered to be a form of blackmail. In some cases, the intimate images can be taken surreptitiously or taken with consent. The offence crystallizes when the images are distributed without consent. Unauthorized distribution can be privately within the person’s network or publicly, online, through social media platforms.

Understanding Sextortion

What is sextortion? As stated earlier, sextortion is a form of blackmail crime that begins when an alleged scammer poses as someone attractive to a certain demographic, such as pretending to be a teen in a chatroom or making a fictitious profile on a dating site. The alleged scammer often uses images of someone else in their profile and engages with others online as that persona. Over time, this develops a relationship or relationships with real people, engaging in sexually charged conversations or proclaiming love. The alleged scammer asks for nudes of the alleged victim and then uses the photos or videos as blackmail. Criminal harassment can arise in this situation as well if the alleged scammer connects with the targeted individual’s friends or family members.

Staying anonymous on the internet may be more difficult than many people think. Online safety tools can hurt or help in situations of online scams like this. If the complainant believes themselves to be in a relationship with the scammer, they may divulge personal details. Many alleged scammers are pros at “doxing” victims or uncovering someone’s real identity, even if they try to conceal it. After a few back-and-forth exchanges of photos or videos, the alleged scammer demands that the complainant send money or the alleged scammer will post the intimate pictures on their social media or send them to their boss, spouse, children, parents, or even everyone the complainant knows.

Another form of sextortion is coercing someone into sexual actions they otherwise wouldn’t do. The alleged scammer could be accused of being a sexual predator, looking for teens or youths for sex trafficking or to use in the production of child sexual abuse material (CSAM or child pornography). The extortion could include forcing the teen to perform sexual acts on camera under the threat of disclosing the media the teen has already sent.

Legal Help in Calgary

Facing sextortion charges is serious and can be daunting. It is critical to remember that a skilled legal advocate who is on your side will review all of the evidence in order to craft a defence.

Sextortion Investigations 

Reports of sextortion are on the rise. reports that 50 sextortion reports are received weekly and seem to be rising. Once a report of sextortion is brought to the attention of law enforcement, a criminal investigation begins. Typically, the complaining witness will contact law enforcement to report the alleged offence. The primary investigating officer will begin collecting information including many details about any social media platforms the complainant uses and where he/she/they saw the intimate images posted. In some cases, the officer will obtain a production order from the social media platform to obtain information about when the image or post was created along with any other details such as IP addresses.  As that information is obtained, the officer will interview any other witnesses and collect any other information that will assist in narrowing down the identity and location of the alleged sextorter. Once the officer has enough information to lay the charge, the court process will start.

AI-Generated Fake Nudes

Artificially generated fake nude images will be a huge concern for the legal system. Some provinces have enacted provincial laws that will allow individuals to appear in front of a tribunal to seek civil remedies such as monetary damages regardless of whether the images are real or fake. British Columbia passed a law that will permit the province to go after suspects and internet companies for damages.

Individuals can be fined up to $500 per day and websites can be fined up to $5000 per day if they don’t comply with orders to stop the distribution from happening. Strategic criminal defence lawyers must work with digital forensic examiners in order to ensure only the best and real evidence is put before the court.

Manitoba has introduced a Bill, the Intimate Image Protection Amendment Act (Distribution of Fake Intimate Images) which has had it as the first reading. The lawmakers have expanded the definition of what is considered intimate or nudes to include those created or manipulated by technology, including artificial intelligence. While it is certainly important to protect children and society’s interests, legislation should not be cast too widely. Unintended consequences and unjust results could occur. A concerning part of Manitoba’s Bill states, “where it’s reasonable to suspect that the person depicted in the image would not consent to the recording being made or distributed to others.” Suspicion is a low threshold in law. Many resources will be used to investigate and commence legal action based on suspicion.

Sextortion Criminal Cases 

Sextortion cases start out like every case in the criminal process. After the arrest, there will be the first appearance, this stage is simply procedural. Sextortion charges (Distributing Intimate Images Without Consent) require a Crown election. This election could be summary or indictable. Once the election is made, the sextortion defence lawyer will advise the accused person and give advice as to what the accused election should be and why. Once the sextortion case is to be considered by a judge, there are several factors that a Court is likely to consider. These are:

  • Whether or not there was wide dissemination of the material to the public;
  • Whether or not there were identifying features, names or most seriously, contact information of the alleged victim made available;
  • Whether or not the content of the material, including depiction of graphic sexual acts; and
  • Whether or not the recordings were recorded surreptitiously.

Relatively less serious circumstances, a judge is likely to consider is

  • Whether or not the accused showed, but did not post on the internet, intimate photos to a limited number of persons; and
  • Whether or not the accused deleted the images/videos from an electronic device or assisted in removing the material from the internet.

If the matter proceeds to trial, a skilled defence lawyer will build the defence starting first with the theory.

Defences Against Sextortion Accusations

Some potential defences against alleged sextortion could be:

  • Mistaken identity – due to the types of evidence law enforcement may collect in cases like these, it may be a case of a false accusation or they may not be able to prove you were the one sending or posting the illicit material.
  • Violation of your Charter Rights – if the evidence was obtained in a violation of your Charter-protected rights, then an argument can be made to have the evidence excluded.
  • Lack of Evidence- the prosecutor must prove each element of the offence beyond a reasonable doubt. If they are lacking in evidence to prove these elements, the charge will not be viable.

Understanding the nature of sextortion offences and the defences available is only the first step in defending yourself against serious allegations. If you have been charged with a sextortion offence, call us today.

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Dedication, Support, Ethic, Knowledge, Experience, Sharp and Direct. All the qualities your are looking for in a lawyer, they have it all and some. But JILLIAN WILLIAMSON was my guardian angel. Being a Client, I was comfortable to blindly leave my fate in their hands. That was a real well placed investment in the future of my life. I second, promote, referred and all the synonym possible to anybody facing an up hill battle and needs the support and experience to help you go through it.

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I am so very pleased with the work Mathew Deshaye put into my case! He genuinely is a good person, and is determined to get justice. Matthew is extremely professional and I couldn’t have been happier with having him represent me. I’m glad that I could work with him. Dina his assistant was also great with communicating back and forth with me. I made the right choice by retaining Matthew as my lawyer and I hope you do the same. I am in tears with how grateful I am. I’m so very thankful for the work and research that went into helping me with my case! Thank you! 🙂

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I was involved in a motor vehicle case and I knew I needed outstanding representation. Jim Lutz, Lacey and his team were nothing short of perfection. I was thoroughly impressed how he handled my case with expedited tenacity. The judicial system can be very confusing with how everything works ,but Mr. Lutz was very easy to communicate with and simplified everything. If you need a lawyer who is on the ball, Jim without a question is the person who should represent you. I highly recommend Mr. Lutz and his team! Thank you very much Sir and your team for all outstanding professional services.

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