Former Main Street Church executiveFormer Main Street Church executive pastor John Vermeer’s trial for child pornography started July 23, 2019, was delayed until January 2020, and is next in court in February. pastor John Vermeer’s trial for child pornography started July 23, 2019 but is now delayed for months.

Chilliwack church pastor child porn trial delayed yet again

Nearly two years since John Vermeer’s first court appearance

Chilliwack’s church pastor child porn trial faces yet more delays amid the already sparse amount of court time set aside between January and May.

John (Johannes) Vermeer had his first court appearance in provincial court almost two years ago on March 29, 2018 facing one count each of possession of child pornography and accessing child pornography from May 1, 2010. He also faces the same charges with an offence date of March 17, 2015.

The highly technical trial has been beset by delays from the start. After just one witness on July 23, 2019, it became clear that more computer logs needed to be disclosed to Vermeer’s lawyer, and an external hard drive connected to his main computer was missing.

Finally back in court for two dates this month, Jan. 9 and 10, Crown and defence cross-examined computer technician Lyle Kullman who worked for the IT company used by Main Street Church, and who examined the computer systems when the child pornography was first found.

Second up on the witness stand on Jan. 10, was Cpl. Darryl Anderson. But early on in the questions put to Anderson by Crown counsel Teresa Mitchell-Banks it became clear she was seeking to have him be an expert witness. To include expert testimony in a trial, however, the Crown needs to give defence at least 30 days notice, according to the law.

Mitchell-Banks did not give Vermeer’s lawyer Michael Klein that notice, so the trial date on Jan. 10 was adjourned.

Anderson has acted as an RCMP expert witness on computer matters in the past, most recently in a child porn trial that saw the acquittal of the accused.

• READ MORE: Prominent realtor’s child porn trial starts in BC Supreme Court in Chilliwack

• READ MORE: All child porn charges against Chilliwack realtor dismissed

The testimony heard on the last day of the Vermeer trial on Jan. 10 involved questions and answers about servers, hard drives, file sharing, administrative privileges, Trojan viruses, hacking and bots.

Vermeer’s lawyer Klein asked Kullman numerous highly technical questions about what is theoretically possible to do to a computer or a network of computers remotely using malware.

“With some sophistication you could delete just about anything?” Klein asked Kullman.

“If you have administrative rights to the computer you can wipe out pretty much whatever you want,” he replied.

Klein asked Kullman if he found any evidence of Trojan viruses or other hacking on the computers at the churches.

“We didn’t find any evidence of that,” he said, in part.

Klein pushed him further asking if a sophisticated hacker could installed a virus and then used software to later remove the virus.

“It’s theoretically possible,” Kullman said.

At the start of the trial, Crown counsel Teresa Mitchell-Banks explained that the IT firm found 81 files with names typical of child pornography.

Evidence of more images and videos were later found, some on a laptop computer previously used by Vermeer.

While there have already been several delays, Klein has not yet asked the court to consider a motion to dismiss charges under section 11(b) of the criminal code. Under the 2016 Jordan decision, the Supreme Court of Canada decreed that provincial court matters should take no longer than 18 months from charge approval to the end of trial.

The trial is set to resume Feb. 24.


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