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Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Son of former Halifax deputy police chief charged with Internet luring

The son of a former Halifax Regional Police deputy chief has been charged with luring a child over the Internet.
Brandon William McNeil, 20, is the son of former deputy chief Chris McNeil.
He is also charged with making child pornography — involving the child — and making sexually explicit material available to a child.
Police were contacted Saturday about a man sharing sexually explicit images online with a 13-year-old boy. On Sunday, members of the joint Halifax Regional Police-RCMP integrated Internet child exploitation unit searched a home in the 0-100 block of Kingston Crescent in Dartmouth.
Brandon McNeil’s address in court records is 43 Kingston Cres., which is owned by Chris and Pamela McNeil.
Investigators seized a computer and arrested a suspect without incident at the scene. They say the accused and the victim knew one another.
Chris McNeil told Global News Monday that the charges are “a deeply disturbing matter for my family.”
Brandon McNeil is also the nephew of Premier Stephen McNeil.
The premier said he learned of the investigation Sunday, but he didn't know then what the charges were.
"My brother called me yesterday morning (and) told me that (police) had come to his house," McNeil told reporters at Province House.
McNeil had little else to say because the case will soon be in court.
"Obviously, this has been a devastating day for not only my brother's family but obviously, also another family in the province as well," he said, referring to the 13-year-old victim.
Halifax Police say they don’t comment on the relationships of people charged in crimes.
Const. Pierre Bourdages of Halifax Regional Police said that while cases involving child pornography sometimes take longer to investigate, because these allegations involved people known to one another “it was a very short timeline. We wanted to make sure that, given the information we had, there was no progression to actual contact.”
Bourdages said the computer equipment seized will be analyzed to see if there may be other alleged victims.
“At this time these are the charges against him, but there may be more charges coming down if something else was to be found.”
He said the amount of time needed to finish the analysis of the items seized will depend on the amount of data found.
Bourdages said police have not found any evidence of sexual assault in the case.
McNeil was released from custody on conditions that include not communicating with children under the age of 16, not possessing a device able to access the Internet and not being within 50 metres of any place frequented by children. He will appear in Dartmouth provincial court April 29.
Each of the charges has mandatory minimum jail time on conviction. Making child pornography carries a sentence of at least six months if the Crown proceeds summarily and one year if by indictment.
Internet luring of a child has a minimum 90 days in jail for a summary conviction, and one year if by indictment.
Making sexually explicit material available to a child means at least 30 days for a summary offence and 90 days if it’s indictable.
Chris McNeil retired last March after 31 years as a police officer in Halifax.
With Laura Fraser and Steve Bruce, cbc reporters
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