Justice Morris Fish, writing for the Supreme Court, said physical contact is not necessary for Internet luring because some seemingly innocent chats open the door towards a child being victimized.
"Those who use their computers to lure children for sexual purposes often groom them online by first gaining their trust through conversations about their home life, their personal interests or other innocuous topics," he said.
He said the law "makes it a crime to communicate by computer with underage children or adolescents for the purpose of facilitating the commission of the offences." But he said the word "facilitating" could be interpreted to mean anything that would make it easier or more probable for a young person to be taken advantage of.
This includes anything that would reduce their inhibitions or exploits a child's "curiosity, immaturity or precocious sexuality." Fish said the conversations don't need to be sexually explicit to fit these criteria.
He said the new Internet luring law "criminalizes conduct that precedes the commission of the sexual offences." "This is in keeping with Parliament's objective to close the cyberspace door before the predator gets in to prey." The decision was part of an Alberta man's case who admitted to online sexual chats with a 12-year-old girl in 2003.
At a 2006 trial on two sexual luring counts, the judge called Craig Bartholomew Legare's actions "despicable and repugnant," but said that since he had no intention of ever meeting the child, there was no crime. The Supreme Court said the judge from the first trial applied the law too constrictively, leading to the acquittal.
Agents with the South Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force were conducting a separate investigation when they came across the picture of a 15-year-old boy posted on a social network blog.The detectives tracked down the boy in the picture and learned he had a history of sexual chatting and swapping nude photographs online with Clancy, according to the investigative report.With permission, one detective took over the teen's social networking account and posed as the boy. He traveled from Fort Lauderdale to Boynton Beach on a Kawasaki motorcycle with a bottle of alcohol and some condoms in his saddlebags, the report stated.Detectives were waiting at the prearranged location and took him into custody.During questioning, Clancy admitted having regular sexual chats online with the boy and knew it was wrong, investigators said.