Former elementary school teacher Jamie Gardiner leaves the London courthouse after being convicted of making and possessing child pornography, June 16, 2017. (Photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News)

Voyeur Ex-Teacher Could Challenge Mandatory Sentence

It’s still unclear whether or not a former London elementary school teacher found guilty of child pornography and voyeurism charges will challenge his possible one year mandatory jail sentence.

Jamie Gardiner’s case returned to the London courthouse on Monday but was quickly adjourned until Friday at his lawyer’s request. Defence lawyer Richard Braiden asked for the additional time to speak to his client about an Ontario Court of Appeal decision announced last week in an internet luring case from the Toronto-area. The province’s top court found the mandatory 12-month sentence in that case to be unconstitutional.

According to the Appeal Court, “application of the mandatory minimum to such a wide range of behaviour would result in sentences that are grossly disproportionate for some individuals.”

Gardiner, who was not present for Monday’s proceedings, was found guilty on June 16 of producing and possessing child pornography for secretly filming a 16-year-old in a change room at Ashley Oaks Public School. Gardiner had previously pleaded guilty to 16 counts of voyeurism in relation to the hidden camera that was placed in a backpack and left on the floor of the change room. The camera was angled to capture the genital or buttock area of Gardiner’s female colleagues as they changed. The offences took place between 2011 and March 2015 when Gardiner was a special education teacher at the school. In all, 29 videos of 16 victims were found by police on Gardiner’s cellphone and a thumb drive.

Braiden has said he may challenge the mandatory sentence associated with the child pornography charges as “cruel and unusual punishment.” He notes the length of the sentence is not appropriate for the crime given that the charge relates to a single two-minute-and-30-second video of the 16-year-old co-op student.

When the case returns to court on Friday a date will be set for either a constitutional challenge or sentencing. Victim impact statements are scheduled to be heard next month.