Former Fort Nelson principal loses child pornography conviction appeal

In a ruling released today, B.C. Court of Appeal Chief Justice Lance Finch came to the conclusion that the police had violated McNiece’s right to be free of unreasonable search and seizure, but found that the evidence should not be excluded and dismissed the conviction appeal.

“As an elementary school principal, the appellant held a position of public trust. Society ought to have reasonable assurance that a school principal is not viewing child pornography.”

Finch’s ruling was also agreed to by Madam Justice Catherine Ryan and Madam Justice Kathryn Nielson.

Another ruling released Wednesday, says the Appeal Court also rejected McNiece’s argument that there was an unreasonable delay in his case getting to trial.    

The former northern B.C. principle became a target of an RCMP investigation after receiving a tip from international authorities, that McNiece was accessing and downloading child pornography on his home computer.

In May of 2007, a search warrant was obtained, his home searched and McNiece was arrested that same day, while police also seized two computers, one of which containing child pornography.

A school computer used by McNiece was also seized at the request of authorities but without a warrant, on which RCMP located over 100 images of child pornography in temporary Internet files, which were deleted, but retrieved through the use of special software.