Former Main Street Church executive pastor John Vermeer took the witness stand in his own defence on Oct. 6, 2020 in his trial for child pornography in Chilliwack provincial court. The trial ended Jan. 7, 2021. (File)

Former Main Street Church executive pastor John Vermeer took the witness stand in his own defence on Oct. 6, 2020 in his trial for child pornography in Chilliwack provincial court. The trial ended Jan. 7, 2021. (File)

Chilliwack church pastor child porn trial wraps up

Judge’s decision in case of John Vermeer put over to another date

Chilliwack’s church pastor child porn trial has now ended with a verdict yet to come.

Lawyers for the Crown and for John (Johannes) Vermeer made final submissions in front of Judge Andrea Ormiston in provincial court on Thursday (Jan. 7).

The highly technical and drawn-out trial focused on child porn that was discovered on a computer at Main Street Church. Vermeer, who is the former executive pastor of the church, faced four counts: two each of possession of child pornography and accessing child pornography for dates in 2015 and 2010.

READ MORE: Chilliwack church pastor child porn trial faces multi-month delay

READ MORE: Chilliwack church pastor child porn trial delayed yet again

The trial began on July 22, 2019 but was delayed a number of times from the start, in part due to disclosure of computer logs and a missing external hard drive.

Defence lawyer Michael Klein has made submissions arguing that while child pornography was indeed found on the computer, there is reasonable doubt as to how it got there.

At the start of the trial, Crown counsel Teresa Mitchell-Banks explained that the IT firm Empyrion brought in 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.

Klein asked expert witnesses if a virus or hacker could remotely put child porn on the computer. Computer technician Lyle Kullman testified that no evidence of Trojan viruses or hacking was found on the church’s computers.

Klein pushed the experts on how possible it is to fully delete files from a computer, particularly if someone has administrative privileges. While unsophisticated computer users often don’t realize how difficult it is to delete a file and all of it’s traces from a computer or overwrite hard drives, it can be done.

On the last day of submissions, Klein reiterated this point, and the fact that Vermeer is a sophisticated computer user.

“If someone was savvy enough [they] can overwrite hard drives,” he said. “Mr. Vermeer is sophisticated enough. Why wouldn’t he do that?”

Given, also, that Empyrion had remote access and the ability to monitor usage on the church’s computers, Klein suggested that it would make no sense that Vermeer would use the computer to watch child porn.

“Why would you use a computer to download child pornography, one that you knew someone else can watch?”

Vermeer himself testified in October in his own defence, telling the judge that he was the one who called the RCMP when the child porn was discovered.

“I called the detachment,” he told Judge Ormiston, even though he said neither he nor lead pastor Shawn Vandop could see child pornography images on the computer.

“We couldn’t see any files or images. [The RCMP] said, ‘Until you discover something more concrete, we are not going to attend.’”

The trial ended on Jan. 7, 2021. A date for Judge Ormiston’s to hand down her decision had not been set by Jan. 11.

READ MORE: Chilliwack church pastor takes the witness stand in child porn trial


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
editor@theprogress.com

@TheProgress
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Court

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Through his lens, Doug Cook captured this picture of the Fraser River, Mount Baker, an eagle, and even the Golden Ears Bridge on a sunny fall afternoon. The photo was taken from the wooden walkway leading down to the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport float plane dock. (Contributed photo)
Friends of Semiahmoo Bay to host virtual World Wetland Day event

Webinar event to feature six speakers, to be held Feb. 2

Pindie Dhaliwal, one of the organizers for the Surrey Challo protest for Indian farmers. She says organizers were told by Surrey RCMP that the event was not allowed due to COVID-19. Organizers ended up moving the protest to Strawberry Hill at the last minute. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Indian farmers rally moves as organizers say Surrey RCMP told them they couldn’t gather

Protest originally planned in Cloverdale, moved to Strawberry Hill

One of the Choices Lottery grand prize packages includes a home located at 16730 19 Ave., Surrey. (Contributed photo)
Two South Surrey homes featured in Choices Lottery

Tickets on sale now for BC Children’s Hospital lottery

Fraser Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at a Surrey high-intensity rehabilitation unit, Laurel Place. On Dec. 22, 2020, Fraser Health said four patients and two staff members have tested positive for the virus. (Image: Google Street View)
Fraser Health says COVID-19 outbreak over at Laurel Place in Surrey

Health authority declared outbreak over Jan. 16

(Photo by Kevin Hill)
40 cases linked to Surrey Memorial Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

Fraser Health says two death are associated with the outbreak

Justin Kripps of Summerland and his team have competed in Olympic action and World Cup competitions in bobsleigh. (Jason Ransom-Canadian Olympic Comittee).
QUIZ: Are you ready for some winter sports?

It’s cold outside, but there are plenty of recreation opportunities in the winter months

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

sdf
Another Mission student arrested for assault, in 2nd case of in-school violence this week

RCMP notified of local Instagram page with videos (now deleted) showing student assaults, bullying

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Most Read