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news Canada: judge rules kiddy porn possession prot

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Date:          Mon, 18 Jan 1999 12:03:29 GMT0BST
From:          "Yaman Akdeniz" <>
Subject:       news Canada:  judge rules kiddy porn possession protected 

[01/15] Canada judge rules kiddy porn possession protected 

VANCOUVER, Jan 15 (Reuters) - A British Columbia Supreme Court judge
has ruled Canadians have a constitutional right to possess child
pornography if it is for private use and not for distribution,
according to a decision made public on Friday. 

The judge dismissed two counts of simple possession against a
Vancouver man, ruling the threat to privacy and freedom of expression
rights posed by that section of the Criminal Code outweighed its
limited benefits to society. 

John Sharpe had challenged the law after he was arrested when Canadian
Customs agents seized a computer disc being shipped to Sharpe
entitled; "Sam Paloc's Flogging, Fun and Fortitude, A collection of
Kiddie Kink Classics." 

Police then raided the Vancouver writer's home and seized additional
books, manuscripts and pictures they allege contained child
pornography of young boys. 

Justice Duncan Shaw said the "invasion" on personal privacy and
freedom of expression was "profound" and there was not enough evidence
that the total prohibition reduces social problems such as child

"I find that the limited effectiveness of the prohibition is
insufficient to warrant its highly invasive effects," Shaw said in his
in 33 ruling, that was issued Wednesday but no made public until

The ruling is not binding on other cases until upheld by the Canadian
Supreme Court, but it can still considered in other legal disputes on
the issue. 

Shaw rejected Sharpe's constitutional challenge to the Criminal Code's
prohibition on possessed child pornography for distribution. His trial
on those charges is expected to begin later this year. 

British Columbia Attorney General Ujjal Dosanjh said the province was
considering an appeal, but would not make a decision until after it
received rulings on other aspects of Sharpe's case. 

Police witnesses testified during the constitutional challenge that
the Internet has led to an "explosion" of child pornography, and the
possession law allows them to get search warrants when investigating
child molesters. 

Iain Benson, a Vancouver attorney with the Center for Renewal in
Public Policy, said Shaw's interpretation of freedom of expression
rights appears to run counter to other recent court rulings on that
issue as it relates to obscenity and the right to protest.

Last Updated: 01/15/99 18:44 EST 

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Yaman Akdeniz <>
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