HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (AP) — Two Canada teenagers appeared in youth court Thursday on child pornography charges related to a deadly cyberbullying case, which is set to continue next month as the defense seeks additional disclosure of evidence.
Rehtaeh Parsons was taken off life support after a suicide attempt in April that her family says was prompted by months of bullying. They say the 17-year-old was tormented after a digital photograph of her allegedly being sexually assaulted was distributed around her school.
After the alleged assault in November 2011, police conducted a yearlong investigation and initially concluded there were no grounds to charge anyone.
One 18-year-old man faces two counts of distributing child pornography, while another 18-year-old man is charged with distributing and making child pornography. The next court action is set for Sept. 19.
Police announced the arrests in the high-profile case last week. The teens’ names cannot be released because they were under 18 at the time of the alleged offenses.
Neither man showed any emotion during the court appearance.
The two were charged after police reopened their investigation a week after the girl’s death. Police said they had received new and credible information from someone who was willing to co-operate with their investigation.
Police have said there were no plans to lay charges in connection with the alleged sexual assault. They concluded there weren’t enough grounds to lay charges.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said he hoped Parsons’ family would be given a degree of comfort by the arrests.
The issue of bullying in Canada was thrust into the public eye last year after the suicide of teen Amanda Todd. She made a video about bullying and cyber-stalking that was seen around the world.