New trial in Christopher Lawrence, Edmonton juvenile delinquent Pi News

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The Alberta High Court has ordered a fresh trial on four charges against an Edmonton photographer convicted of nine child sex offenses.

An arbitral tribunal convicted Christopher Lawrence in November 2019. In February 2021, Queen’s Court Judge Paul Bells sentenced him to 11 years in prison.

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Lafrance is a freelance professional photographer. His two victims are 15-year-old interested models.

Lawrence was found guilty of touching a teenager during two photo shoots in 2016 and taking a photo revealing her poses and in 2015 calling for a sexual assault from a second 15-year-old girl.

Until mid-May, Lawrence avoided serving his sentence while the appellate court waited for his case to be decided. In its May 16 judgment, the Court of Appeals sent Lafrance to the Edmonton Remand Center on May 18 to serve his sentence.

His appeal was allowed in two cases: child pornography and possession of child pornography. At the time of sentencing, those charges represented four years of his 11-year prison sentence.

During the trial in LaFrance, the appeals court said the two girls were warned not to tell their mothers about the activities with the photographer.

“He refused to touch the children sexually under any circumstances and denied sexual intercourse,” the results say.

Judges of the Court of Appeals said that while he was testifying at the trial, the photos showing Lafrance nudity were taken by accident.

He said his aim was to create “beautiful art” images of children and not to create child pornography.

Police footage, defined as child pornography, included 396 digital images of the victim’s 2,100 and 29 of the other teens’ 712 images.

‘Artistic Reasonable Purpose’ protection

Lawrence, in his appeal, told trial judge Bell that the jury should have included a defense of “artistic reasonable purpose” during his indictment.

Bells refused to put that argument in arbitration.

“I have an obligation not to put anything in the arbitral tribunal that has no air of truth and risks confusing the arbitral tribunal,” Bell said during the hearing.

The Court of Appeals effectively presented the jury’s role in making that decision as an attempt at fact.

The appellate court ruled that “the trial judge should have left that decision to the arbitral tribunal.” “Mr. Lawrence should at least have a real issue determined by the jury.”

As a result, the Court of Appeal ordered a new hearing in four cases involving the production and possession of child pornography.

All other grounds for appeal were dismissed, including Lawrence’s complaint of “ineffective assistance of counsel” at the hearing.

In response to that complaint, attorney Paul Welke filed an affidavit.

Welke described Lafrance as a tough client who “exhibits the traits of a narcissist and not on a small scale.”

Welke, who now works at Legal Aid Alberta, described LaFrance as “exceptionally difficult to consult” and noted that most of his advice was “completely ignored.”

Lawrence testified in his own argument at the trial, but Velke said in his affidavit that Lawrence was a bad witness, and although Welke prepared his client for the questions he asked, he often could not answer them.

Another lawyer appeared for Lawrence when he was sentenced. The same lawyer, Alexandra Seaman, appeared for him on appeal.

After the arbitral tribunal found LaFrance guilty, one of his victims stated in his assault statement that he had changed his career plans because of what LaFrance had done to him.

“My goal is no longer to do modeling, but to provide sex education in schools,” she said. “It doesn’t stop me.

“I’m not going to break.”

A spokesman for the Alberta Justice said Friday that he had surrendered by law and order and is now in federal prison.

The remaining sentence is seven years, but he appeals the sentence. A spokesman said the appeal would come up for hearing this year.

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