By Haley Ryan - Metro Halifax
HALIFAX - Two young men are facing child pornography charges in the case of Rehtaeh Parsons, nearly two years after her parents allege the teen was gang-raped at a party and a photo of the incident was shared via social media.
© THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Facebook- Rehtaeh Parsons is shown in a handout photo from the
Rehtaeh Parsons is shown in a handout photo from the Facebook tribute page "Angel Rehtaeh."
On Thursday evening, Halifax police held a news conference to announce the charges.
âA young girlâŠexperienced the harsh nature of a world of people wanting to do harm and using social media to do it,â said Halifax Regional Police Chief Jean-Michel Blais.
âWe hope that todayâs arrests help the community to heal,â added Halifax RCMP Chief Supt. Roland Wells.
The young men, both 18, were arrested around 8 a.m. Thursday. One faces two counts of distributing child pornography, and the other charges of making and distributing child pornography.
Blais said no sexual assault charges will be laid because the Crown advised there was âinsufficient evidenceâ to bring any to court.
Glen Canning, Rehtaehâs father, said it was a âbittersweetâ moment when he learned of the arrests.
âI just feel a little bit winded,â Canning said.
âOn one hand I would want to be very happy and very gratefulâŠon the other hand, itâs a bit of a bittersweet moment because Rehtaehâs dead now, and it doesnât really make much of a difference to her,â he said.
Rehtaeh, 17, took her own life in April after nearly two years of bullying following an alleged rape at a party when she was 15.
Shortly after the alleged rape, a photo of the incident was sent around her school and a few others.
âIt was hardâŠto watch my beautiful, loving, intelligent daughter just completely shatter and fall apart right in front of my eyes and there was nothing I could do about it,â Canning said.
A week after Rehtaehâs death, amid public outrage, Halifax police re-opened the investigation, citing ânew and credibleâ information.
Blais said new investigators from the special enforcement team were used, âto ensure we had a different set of eyes.â
Wells said itâs up to the justice review of the original case to determine whether charges should have been laid earlier.
âWe are in a constant state of learning to do things better,â Wells said.
Nova Scotia Justice Minister Ross Landry said heâs pleased the public came forward with information to help reopen the case.
âI look forward to how this all unfolds,â Landry said Thursday night. âI respectâŠ that due process and justice will be followed.â
Landry said heâll make a statement next week regarding when the review of the original case will begin.
The two teens charged Thursday have been released from custody, and will appear in Halifax youth court on Aug. 15. They cannot be named because the charges stem from when they were youths.