Former Main Street Church executive pastor John Vermeer’s trial for child pornography started July 23, 2019 has been beset by delays, but continued on March 4, 2020.

Chilliwack church pastor child porn trial hears from RCMP computer expert

‘Viruses are the result of the child pornography and viewing as opposed to the other way around’

The question of whether or not a computer virus can be used to download child pornography onto someone’s computer came up Wednesday in the long, drawn-out trial of a Chilliwack church pastor.

John (Johannes) Vermeer’s first court appearance of child porn charges from alleged images and videos found on computers at Main Street Church was on March 29, 2018.

His trial – which has been beset by delays – continued on March 4, 2020. On the witness stand that day, and on the last court date on Feb. 25 was RCMP forensic computer analyst Sgt. Lorena Rostie who answered detailed technical questions about how computer files are stored on, linked to, and deleted from computers.

• READ MORE: Chilliwack church pastor child porn trial continues

Crown counsel Teresa Mitchell-Banks wrapped up her questions to Sgt. Rostie asking if, in the course of the officer’s academic experience or her career in the RCMP, she had ever seen where a virus could download child pornography without the user knowing it.

“I’ve not seen anything like that,” Rostie told the court.

Mitchell-Banks asked if the officer had even heard of that happening, particularly over the course of days and years as is alleged in the case at bar. Rostie’s response was “no.”

“If someone is using child pornography and they get a virus, what is the most common source?” she asked.

“The child pornography,” Rostie responded. “In my experience, the viruses are the result of the child pornography and viewing as opposed to the other way around. I’ve never seen a virus download child pornography in my 10 years in tech crimes.”

The trial adjourned after testimony in the morning on March 4 and is set to resume March 10.

Vermeer had his first court appearance in provincial court almost two years ago on March 29, 2018 facing one count each of possession of child pornography and accessing child pornography from May 1, 2010, and the same charges from March 17, 2015.

Vermeer is the former executive pastor of Main Street Church, and the child pornography was discovered on computers at the church.

The highly technical trial is so far mostly focused on how the child pornography got onto the computers.

At the start of the trial, Crown counsel Teresa Mitchell-Banks explained that the IT firm found 81 files with names typical of child pornography. Evidence of more images and videos were later found, some on a laptop computer.

While there have already been several delays, Vermeer’s lawyer Michael Klein has not yet asked the court to consider a motion to dismiss charges under section 11(b) of the criminal code. Under the 2016 Jordan decision, the Supreme Court of Canada decreed that provincial court matters should take no longer than 18 months from charge approval to the end of trial.

• READ MORE: Chilliwack church pastor child porn trial faces multi-month delay


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

@PeeJayAitch
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Organ donation gives Fraser Valley RCMP officer a second chance at life

Cathleen Falebrinza celebrates Green Shirt Day after receiving a double lung transplant in 2016.

Stay off the tracks and stay alert, rail police warn

Last year, seven were killed and 10 seriously injured in rail crossing, trespassing incidents

Open houses discouraged as Chilliwack realtors look for a way forward

March saw strong sales but April likely to see lower numbers

Chilliwack hospital offers thank-you message to community

Chilliwack health-care workers say they have heard everyone’s support throughout COVID-19 pandemic

What would you like to ask Hope’s Mayor on COVID-19?

Send us your questions, ahead of a conversation with Peter Robb

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

B.C. sorting medical equipment sales, donation offers for COVID-19

Supply hub has call out for masks, gowns, coronavirus swabs

B.C. records five more deaths due to COVID-19, 45 new cases

A total of 838 people have recovered from the virus

Major crimes investigating sudden death of North Okanagan child

The 8 year old was flown to Kelowna General Hospital and died hours later

BC institution has highest number of positive results for COVID-19

11 inmates in Mission test positive for coronavirus, more than any other federal prison in Canada

Easter Bunny added to B.C.’s list of essential workers

Premier John Horgan authorizes bunny to spread “eggs-ellent cheer” throughout province

Travellers returning to B.C. must have self-isolation plan or face quarantine: Horgan

Premier John Horgan says forms must be filled out by travellers

More than 400 animals have been adopted amid pandemic: B.C. SPCA

People are taking this time of social distancing to find a loyal companion through the animal welfare group

Most Read