Edmonton pediatrician found guilty on child pornography charges

An Edmonton pediatrician has been found guilty of possessing and distributing child pornography.

Court of King’s Bench Justice Kent Davidson delivered his decision Monday in the case of Dr. Ghassan Al-Naami, whose trial was held earlier this year.

Davidson found Al-Naami guilty of transmission of child pornography, which carries a minimum of one year up to 14 years imprisonment; and possession of child pornography, which carries the same minimum and up to 10 years imprisonment.

Sentencing dates have not yet been set.

At the core of the case was a video received and then sent over Skype in April 2019 on the physician’s laptop. Crown and defence had argued over whether the video constituted child pornography.

Davidson said Monday that he found the video met that definition. In his decision, he referenced a message attached to the video when it was retransmitted. The message asked another Skype user whether they wished to see video of sex with a minor.

None of the material was thought to be of Al-Naami or patients under his care.

Davidson also found explicit text exchanged over the account similarly constituted child pornography.

He rejected suggestions raised by the defence that another family member could possibly be at fault.

“There are many markers that point to the accused being the culprit,” the judge said, including access to the devices involved and fluency in Arabic, the language used for the messages.

“I’m satisfied based on all of the evidence, beyond a reasonable doubt, that it was the accused who participated,” Davidson said.

Al-Naami was arrested in 2019 after an investigation by the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams.

In 2021, following a court decision, he was allowed to return to practice with an approved chaperone in attendance for patient encounters.

A spokesperson for the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta said a criminal conviction is considered unprofessional conduct under the Health Professions Act and subject to disciplinary action through the organization’s complaints process.

Al-Naami was previously a physician at the Bright Futures Clinic at 113th Avenue and 95th Street in Edmonton.

He was also a pediatrician in Fort McMurray from 2012 until early 2017.

Originally Appeared Here

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