Christopher Paul Neil, who grew up in Maple Ridge, was arrested last night at YVR.
Neil was jailed in Thailand in 2007 after he was identified as the man seen in hundreds of graphic photos online, showing the sexual abuse of children. His face was obscured by a digital swirl pattern, but German computer experts reversed it to reveal his face.
Neil served five years in prison, which is only about half his actual sentence, before being sent back to Canada.
“We weren’t expecting him to be back this soon, either. But it’s not unusual for anyone to be released before the end of a sentence. It happens in Canada, it happens in other countries,” says RCMP Corporal Mat Van Laer.
But Neil is not facing criminal charges in Canada; Van Laer explains Neil is being held under a rarely-used section of the criminal code alleging his actions cause fear of sexual offences against children.
“It’s a charge that we engage on occasion, mostly when you have people that are designated a high-risk offender,” he tells us.
Neil will be in court in Richmond on Monday; he’s not facing jail time. Police expect he will be released with conditions.
“At this point, we can’t even comment on which community he intends on living [in]. We have no fixed address for him. That’s going to be another issue that’s going to be addressed on Monday,” adds Van Laer.