He was greeted on his return to Canada by members of the RCMP's Integrated Child Exploitation Unit as he stepped off a plane Friday night. [...]CBC reported on the results of that hearing today:
He said police obtained a warrant for Neil's arrest prior to his arrival at the airport because of fear for the public's safety, even though there's no evidence of any offence being committed in Canada.
"We felt that based on the severity and the nature of the crime that Mr. Neil has committed abroad it was important that we, at the very least, bring the intention forward to our courts and see what they have to say about that," he said.
"Crown counsel has reviewed the evidence and the information that was brought forward about the activities of Mr. Neil abroad, and I suppose they felt, as we did, confident enough that some form of monitoring would be a good idea in this case so they issued an arrest warrant." [...]
Neil had a bail hearing on Saturday morning and will appear before a judge on Monday, when a judge will assess his release or impose any conditions, said Cpl. Mat Van Laer.
A little known subsection of the Criminal Code is in the spotlight this week, as a B.C. court prepares for a hearing on what, if any, conditions should be imposed on a British Columbia man who returned to Canada after serving a prison sentence for sexually abusing a boy in Thailand.Neil was arrested in 2007 after an international manhunt to find the person who appeared in photos molesting children and hiding his face behind a 'swirl,' a tale told in this BBC documentary (Part 1, 2, 3):
Christopher Neil, 37, is due back in a B.C. courtroom Wednesday, where a provincial court judge will consider the Crown’s request for conditions on his freedom based on Section 810.1 of the Criminal Code.
Under that provision -- used to apprehend Neil when he landed at Vancouver International Airport late Friday night -- police can take someone into custody based on their reasonable fear he or she may commit a sexual offence against someone under the age of 16.
Mounties said they invoked the little-used law because Neil had already served time for his overseas offence, but still represents a concern to the community.
Neil's lawyers are expected to apply for a publication ban on his hearing Wednesday, but CTV legal analyst Steven Skurka says the court could impose a broad range of conditions.
"He's served his sentence, he has no parole or probation restrictions on him, and yet, he could be subject to electronic monitoring, curfew, not being able to leave the province, the city or the country," Skurka told CTV's Canada AM Tuesday.
He could also be barred from having any contact with children, his access to the Internet could be restricted, and his name may be added to the National Sex Offender Registry.
He had been teaching English in Korea at the time and fled to Thailand when it became clear he'd been found out. As the CBC story notes, in 2008, "he was sentenced to three years and three months in prison after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting two Thai boys, aged 13 and nine-years-old." Perhaps one reason for fleeing to Thailand was the lax prison sentences?
At any rate, in the immediate aftermath of his arrest, newspapers in Korea used his case to urge the government to "hurry and formulate measures," and it proved to be the tipping point during an already existing moral panic over foreign teachers which lead to new E-2 visa regulations, the drug testing aspect of which has now been extended to half a million foreign workers in Korea.
Oddly enough, seeing as, at the time of his arrest, he was not on an E-2 visa, had no criminal record, and was not known to do drugs or have HIV, the new measures would not have affected him. One wonders if they would even now, since he was not (as of yet) found guilty of any crime in Canada, and so would likely have a clean criminal record check.