Smith receives hefty sentence

After being found guilty Wednesday afternoon by a jury for creating and distributing obscene material over the Internet, Woodyatt resident Don Smith was handed a precedent-setting sentence Thursday morning at the Fort Frances Courthouse.
Madame Justice H. Pierce ruled Smith, 47, must pay a $100,000 fine—far in excess of what defence lawyer Darren Sawchuk had noted was the average fine in other Canadian cases dealing with obscene material ($1,000).
Sawchuk noted after the judge’s decision Thursday morning that the fine, as well as the fact Smith was unaware he’d been creating material considered “obscene” by definition of Canadian law, was being “seriously considered” as grounds to take the case to the Ontario Court of Appeal.
But the hefty fine was more in line with what Crown Attorney Howard Leibovich, who was serving as co-counsel on the case with Crown Attorney Christine Bartlett-Hughes, had suggested.
Leibovich said $60,000 (U.S.) would have been suitable, based on an approximate amount he had determined to be equal to proceeds Smith made on the paid Web site.
Smith’s sentence also includes three years’ probation.
As well, as of today, Smith must revoke any interest in his Web site on which the material deemed obscene was available, including any copyrights; not access the Internet nor reside in a place where access to the Internet is available; and not participate, in any way, in any Web site in the future.
He also must report to a probation officer as required, and must advise the OPP of any change of address.
The jury announced its verdict around 3:30 p.m. yesterday, finding Smith guilty of five charges, including two counts of making videotapes featuring undue exploitation of sex and violence, one count of possessing similar material on a computer for the purposes of distribution, and two counts of distributing obscene matter via a Web site.
Justice Pierce noted the fine and probation were standing orders and not in lien of any individual count.