Going against the advice of its staff, the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) granted registration to a man with a child pornography conviction.
Following an “opportunity to be heard,” the OSC granted registration to an unnamed man who was convicted in 2015 of possessing child pornography. At the time the offence was committed, the man was in university.
According to the decision, he pled guilty to the charge and was sentenced to four months in prison, three years probation and a fine. These facts were disclosed to his prospective dealer when he sought registration as a fund rep.
The decision indicated that OSC staff opposed granting registration on the basis that, they believed, the man was not honest during a voluntary interview with the regulator about the circumstances surrounding his conviction.
“Staff asserts that the applicant was not being honest with them by representing to staff that his purpose in possessing the child pornography was to conduct academic research, which staff has asserted was unreasonable and unrealistic given the circumstances,” the decision said.
The conclusion that he wasn’t honest in the interview undermined the integrity required for registration, OSC staff argued.
However, the man’s lawyers maintained he was honest with the regulator during the interview, and wasn’t directly asked about the underlying reason for his offence.
“[C]ounsel asserts that staff did not explicitly ask the question for which staff is asserting he did not provide an honest response,” it said.
After reviewing the transcripts of both his criminal trial and the interview with OSC staff, the OSC concluded that he was honest during the interview.
The OSC director “found there to be a consistent representation of the facts and circumstances of the criminal case,” the decision said.
The OSC director was “satisfied that the applicant has taken responsibility for his actions, is remorseful and understands that his actions were a crime,” it said.
As a result, the director ruled that he should be granted registration.
The director also ordered that the record of the hearing be sealed, and the man be identified as “John Doe” in the decision, on the basis that “the desirability of avoiding the disclosure of intimate personal matters that are discussed in these documents outweighs the public benefit of openness in commission proceedings.”