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His lawyer spent almost two weeks on her feet challenging the validity of police search warrants, but the day the judge was scheduled to deliver his rulings on whether they were lawful or not, the Toronto actor Robert Smith admitted to two counts of possessing child pornography and one of making it available.

Mr. Smith, best known for his portrayal of the mutton-chopped spokesman for Alexander Keith's beer, pleaded not guilty when the trial began early last month.

But telling Ontario Superior Court Judge Robert Clark that he was voluntarily changing his plea and that he understood the consequences, a subdued Mr. Smith instead pleaded guilty yesterday to having knowingly downloaded for himself and made available for other users explicit pictures and movies of children, including toddlers, being sexually violated.

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According to an agreed statement of facts read into the record by prosecutor Allison Dellandrea, Mr. Smith also deliberately had burned 837 of the graphic pictures and 147 of the short movies, totalling more than 12 hours of viewing, onto 14 compact discs found at his North Toronto home in February of 2006.

Some of the children featured in those photos and videos, Ms. Dellandrea said, have "been identified and rescued by law-enforcement agencies worldwide," but, in a particular cruelty of modern sexual abuse, the record of the assaults against them continues to be circulated on the Internet.

Many of the videos, some longer than five minutes and with sound, are part of a series particularly popular with child-porn viewers, and show a nine-year-old girl performing fellatio on adult men and being penetrated by them.

According to a representative sample of images given to the judge yesterday and described by Toronto police Detective-Constable Warren Bulmer, an image-identification expert with the child-exploitation unit, other photographs included toddlers being sexually abused, one while on a diaper-change table.

In addition, Ms. Dellandrea told Judge Clark, on the desktop of Mr. Smith's computer was a folder entitled "Porno English Incest Stories," a written document 277 pages long containing child-pornography stories detailing sexual interaction, including intercourse, between young children and their parents.

The 41-year-old Mr. Smith's wife, Ms. Dellandrea said, "did not know that he had any of this material."

The entire procedure yesterday lasted about an hour, and though not complete - Mr. Smith is due back in court next Monday, when a date for his sentencing will be set - it nonetheless stood in sharp contrast to the long days that his lawyer, Cindy Wasser, spent arguing that the two search warrants, one executed upon Mr. Smith's Internet service provider, Bell Canada, and the other upon his home, breached her client's Charter right to privacy.

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In her arguments, Ms. Wasser suggested that such material can be downloaded innocently or haplessly and that the police should have offered this innocent explanation to the justice of the peace who issued the Bell warrant.

Yet, as Judge Clark heard yesterday from Ms. Dellandrea, when Mr. Smith was arrested on Feb. 14, 2006, he quickly not only admitted to knowingly downloading and possessing child pornography, but also "identified for investigators the specific location of the compact discs containing this material within his home."

The contrast between the protracted Charter argument, which if successful could have seen the "fruits" of the search warrants tossed and thus the prosecution collapse, and the efficient brevity and completeness of Mr. Smith's guilty plea yesterday arguably goes some distance toward explaining the public's cynicism about such challenges.

Ms. Wasser had called a purported expert witness named Russ Doucet, who, had the trial proceeded, would have testified that child-porn images are sometimes innocently retrieved by users searching the web even with innocuous keywords, and that users frequently install software in such a hurry they take shortcuts and may not even look at the content of the files.

Mr. Doucet, who admitted to "a substantial misstatement" of his own credentials on a résumé presented to court and whose answers on this point were described as "startling" and "troubling" by the judge, would have suggested that officers swearing the Bell warrant had misled the justice of the peace by not telling him of the possible benign explanation.

If the judge had deemed the Bell warrant a violation of Mr. Smith's Charter right against unreasonable search and seizure, the later warrant, based in part on the so-called "subscriber information" from the first, would also have been tossed.

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But there never was an innocent explanation for Mr. Smith's having burned the images onto CDs: If he had obtained the material accidentally or by mistake in the first place, why on Earth would he have gone to the trouble of saving it?

In the end, Mr. Smith had only one word to say in court yesterday, which he repeated three times: "Guilty."

Making child pornography available carries a minimum prison term of a year and a maximum of 10, while simple possession of child pornography is punishable by a minimum sentence of 45 days and a maximum jail term of five years.

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