Al Kirkwood was jailed last year after pleading guilty to child pornography charges. KTW photo

Al Kirkwood was jailed last year after pleading guilty to child pornography charges. KTW photo

Kirkwood can see grandkids at Christmas, judge rules

Kirkwood made a brief appearance in Kamloops provincial court on Tuesday

Tim Petruk / Kamloops This Week

A former North Thompson fire chief and newspaper publisher who was jailed last year after pleading guilty to child pornography charges will be allowed to spend Christmas with his grandchildren, a judge has ruled.

Al Kirkwood made a brief appearance in Kamloops provincial court on Tuesday, asking a judge to amend an order put in place at the time of his sentencing in January 2018 — one barring him from being in a position of authority over children for a period of 10 years.

On Oct. 4, 2016, police executed search warrants at Kirkwood’s Barriere home, as well as his two offices — one at the town’s firehall and the other at the North-Thompson Star Journal newspaper, where he served as publisher.

He resigned from both posts a short time later.

Described as a former “pillar of the community” in Barriere, Kirkwood served for 23 years as the town’s fire chief.

On his computers, police found still images and videos showing children posing sexually and others shown engaged in oral sex. One video described in court depicted a six-year-old girl performing oral sex on a grown man.

Kirkwood pleaded guilty and was later sentenced to seven months in prison, followed by an 18-month probation term with orders barring him from visiting parks, playgrounds and pools. The order also prohibited him from owning a smartphone or accessing the internet without his wife’s supervision.

Kirkwood was also placed on an optional 10-year order barring him from volunteering or working in any role that puts him in a position of authority over children. In addition, he was required to register as a sex offender and submit a sample of his DNA to a national criminal database.

In court on Tuesday, Kirkwood asked Judge Marianne Armstrong to change the option order to allow him to spend time with his young grandchildren over Christmas.

The judge obliged, but only if Kirkwood’s wife or other relatives were supervising him.

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