B.C.'s highest court on Tuesday dismissed the sentence appeal for sex tourist Kenneth Robert Klassen.
The international art dealer and divorced Burnaby father of three received an 11-year jail term after pleading guilty to sex offences against underage girls in Cambodia and Colombia.
On appeal, his lawyer argued that the sentence, the longest jail term for a sex-tourism case in Canada, was too long and asked that it be reduced to seven years.
Several grounds of appeal were advanced, including that the trial judge erred in giving appropriate weight to Klassen's guilty plea and erred in mischaracterizing the vulnerability of the victims.
But in a ruling released Tuesday, the B.C. Court of Appeal rejected those arguments.
Justice Nicole Garson noted that the original trial judge had evidence before him of the peculiar vulnerability of child sex workers in Cambodia and Colombia, countries whose institutions failed to protect children.
"Although the appellant was not in a trust-like position, such as a parent or teacher, his exploitation of poor, vulnerable girls living in an unprotected environment is an aggravating factor," she said in her ruling.
"The judge did not err in treating it as an aggravating factor meriting the same or similar consideration as would a trust-like relationship."
Garson's ruling was agreed to by Justice Mary Newbury and Justice David Frankel.
Klassen pleaded guilty to six counts of invitation to sexual touching involving girls under the age of 14 in Colombia, with the offences occurring between December 1998 and March 2002.
He also pleaded guilty to eight counts of invitation to sexual touching involving girls under the age of 14 in Cambodia in August 2001 and to one count of importation of child pornography.
The case began when customs officials seized a suspicious package from the Philippines that Klassen had mailed to himself. The package contained commercial child pornography.
When Klassen picked up the package in September 2004, he was arrested.
Police executed a search warrant at his home and at a storage locker in Vancouver and seized 21 DVDs containing more than 200 images of child porn. The sex offences, which ranged from fondling to oral sex to intercourse, took place inside his Colombian home and at hotels.
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