Mike Haire, a former vice-principal at W. A. Fraser Middle School in Abbotsford, began court proceedings on Monday, May 3 in New Westminster for two child pornography offences.

Mike Haire, a former vice-principal at W. A. Fraser Middle School in Abbotsford, began court proceedings on Monday, May 3 in New Westminster for two child pornography offences.

Trial paused for former Abbotsford vice-principal charged with child porn

Judge reserves decision on admissibility of evidence against Mike Haire

The trial of a former Abbotsford vice-principal charged with two child pornography offences opened this week but will resume at a later date, while awaiting the judge’s decision on the admissibility of evidence.

The trial for Mike Haire began Monday (May 3) in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster on charges of making child porn available and possessing child porn. It was scheduled to run for five days.

The proceedings began with a three-day voir dire (a trial within a trial) initiated by defence lawyer Vincent Michaels and agreed to by the Crown.

Michaels argued that there were no grounds for a search warrant to have been approved against Haire in 2018.

The warrant was executed in September of that year, and Michaels argued that it should not have been approved because it was based on a six-second upload of a child-pornography image to Instagram two months earlier, and reported to police.

RELATED: Abbotsford middle school vice-principal charged with child porn offences

The IP address connected to the upload was linked to a residence that Haire was living in at the time of the search warrant, but Michaels said there could have been other people in the building who could have accessed the internet.

He said police would not have known who uploaded the image at the time of the request for the search warrant.

Once the search warrant was obtained, police seized computers, data storage devices and cellphones from Haire’s residence.

Police at the time of his arrest said a forensic examination of the electronics seized revealed thousands of images and videos depicting child pornography and child abuse. Haire was subsequently arrested and charged.

Crown lawyer Dorothy Tsui said Michaels’ argument was falling into the category of trial evidence of proving the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, and that was not required to obtain a search warrant.

“The justification for the warrant rests on reasonable grounds, not proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” Tsui said.

If the judge agrees that the search warrant was not valid, then any evidence seized as a result of that would not be admissible in court.

At the conclusion of Crown and defence submissions on Wednesday (May 5), Madam Justice Heather MacNaughton said she was reserving her decision on the voir dire. The parties will be back in court on May 27 to set a date for her decision.

Haire had been a teacher and administrator in Abbotsford for 12 years at the time of his arrest, and had been at Fraser Middle School since 2016.

He previously spent 10 years teaching digital visual arts at Clayburn Middle School, where he established a film and broadcasting program.



vhopes@abbynews.com

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