A man, previously convicted of possessing child pornography, will be sentenced June 27 for sexually assaulting a girl, beginning when she was four years old, taking pictures and posting them online.
Stephen Mark Castleden pleaded guilty last December to possessing, making and importing child pornography, as well as the sexual assault. Nick Barber, Crown counsel, and James Wright, made submissions to Judge R.D. Miller as the sentencing hearing began at provincial court in Nanaimo on Tuesday.
Images of the victim, a girl whose identity is protected, were uploaded to a Russian website and the incidents took place over five years.
After being notified by police in Queensland, Australia, Const. Shane Coubrough, a Nanaimo RCMP officer specializing in child pornography and sexual abuse files, obtained and executed a search warrant on May 9, 2018. Castleden was arrested and “pre-search photographs” of the house were taken, which included rooms seen in some of the pornographic material.
Five devices seized had child pornography on them, said Coubrough. They included two Blackberry cellphones, a laptop and two USB drives. Bags of underwear were found which was something that Castleden used to “pleasure himself with,” Coubrough testified.
Among pictures and video showed to the court were depictions of Castleden performing sexual acts with the victim. Some showed the victim hiding her face in her shirt. On the five devices were 1,226 images of child porn and 681 videos, with 27 images and two videos of the victim.
Wright didn’t excuse the actions of his client, but said his client was dealing with stress from the death of his father and losing his wife. He has been receiving counselling in jail, Wright said.
The grandfather of the victim testified about the impact of Castleden’s actions, stating a once affectionate girl is now subdued and cries herself to sleep.
Barber seeks a sentence of between eight to 10 years in jail, while Wright seeks between six to eight years. Barber said Castleden has credit for 606 days of time served.
Castleden received a 30-day jail sentence in Surrey in 2012 for possession of child pornography.