LONDON, Ont. — A laptop computer belonging to the man accusedof kidnapping, sexually assaulting and killing Victoria Staffordwas used to search online for “real underage rape” and”nude preteen” not long before the eight-year-old wasabducted, court documents indicate. But the jury in Michael Rafferty”s trial — nowsequestered and deciding his fate — doesn”t know it,along with a number of other facts that the court deemedinadmissible. The Crown contends Rafferty also downloaded”substantial” amounts of child pornography, and therewas evidence of snuff films — movies depicting real killings— on his laptop.
A woman he met online alleged that hedrugged, choked and raped her. A litany of past dates reported hehad a penchant for sexual choking. Some even complained of his”disconcerting” behaviour toward their children. The jury doesn”t know that, either.
Superior Court Judge Thomas Heeney refused to allow evidence foundon Rafferty”s laptop and BlackBerry — the searches, theevidence of child porn and a downloaded movie about Karla Homolka— because the search violated Rafferty”s charterrights. When police legally searched Rafferty”s car and found the twodevices, they should have obtained another search warrant toexamine their contents, Heeney ruled — even though at thetime there was no binding authority upon them to do so. The first court decision to spell out that a secondary searchwarrant is necessary under such circumstances wasn”t releaseduntil several weeks after investigators began poring throughRafferty”s laptop. At least one officer expressed concern they should get anotherwarrant, but they believed they were on safe legal footing tosearch it because it was found in Rafferty”s car. Waterproof Sports Action Camera
But while police honestly believed they had the authority to searchRafferty”s devices and were “doing the best they couldin the face of extremely difficult circumstances,” Heeneyconcluded the search was careless and took a risk in not getting asecondary warrant. The laptop was not going anywhere, Heeney said, so police had timeto draft another search warrant request, which could have specifiedwhat they were looking for on the computer. “In my view, it cannot be said that society”s interestsin the adjudication of the case on its merits are best served byadmitting evidence that was obtained by means of a charter breach,when its probative value is so weak and its prejudicial effect willbe so devastating,” Heeney wrote in his pre-trial ruling. Data fragments on Rafferty”s laptop indicate he had beendownloading child pornography since 2005. China Hidden Camera Detector
The Hollywood movie”Gardens of the Night,” about the abduction of a young,blond girl — which deviates substantially from what allegedlyhappened to Tori after the abduction — was downloaded 11 daysbefore she disappeared. The movie “Karla,” about KarlaHomolka and Paul Bernardo, was downloaded two weeks later. Investigators also said they found evidence on the laptop of videos”depicting ‘how-to” instructions for child sexualassault.” Most of the videos depicted “a variety of graphic andcoercive images of violent sexual abuse involving children betweenone and eighteen years of age,” the Crown documents say. The rape allegation, the way Rafferty acted toward the children ofhis girlfriends and other such evidence could be considered”bad character” evidence, which is generallyinadmissible at trial. Rafferty himself enunciated the principleduring his interrogation: “Just because I”m sleazydoesn”t make me what I”m being accused of.” Bad character evidence can be admitted if the accused suggestssomeone else is more likely to have committed the crime, much likeRafferty”s defence did with McClintic, for days bringing upher violent past and self-professed thirst for blood. Waterproof Sports Action Camera
But because McClintic, days before the start of pre-trial motionsin January, suddenly went from saying Rafferty killed Tori tosaying she dealt the fatal blows, it rendered the point moot. Thedefence was free to call all the character evidence it wished aboutMcClintic without fear that Rafferty”s past would come up.