Canada: Haven for Kiddie Porn

A Canadian court ruled there is a constitutional right to the possession of child pornography for private use. Selling, creating or distributing kiddie porn remains illegal, though. \n In a Vancouver courtroom, British Columbia Supreme Court Judge Duncan Shaw dismissed two counts of simple possession against John Sharpe of Vancouver. The judge said the threat to privacy and freedom of expression contained in that part of the Criminal Code was greater than the benefit to society. \n Other Canadian courts are not bound by the ruling but it can be introduced in other legal cases. For it to be binding, the ruling would have to be upheld by the Canadian Supreme Court. \n Sharpe, a writer, was arrested after Canadian customs agents found computer disc being sent to him entitled "Sam Paloc's Flogging, Fun and Fortitude, A Collection of Kiddie Kink Classics." Notified of the find, police raided Sharpe's home and discovered books, manuscripts and pictures they identified as child pornography of young boys. \n Police witnesses said the Internet has led to the huge growth of child pornography. They said the possession law lets them get search warrants while they investigate possible child molesters. \n The judge said there is not enough evidence that a complete ban on kiddy porn reduces social problems such as child abuse to warrant the invasion of personal privacy that Sharpe experienced. "I find that the limited effectiveness of the prohibition is insufficient to warrant its highly invasive effects," Judge Shaw said. \n At the same time, the judge rejected Sharpe's challenge to the Criminal Code over his charge of possessing child pornography for distribution. A trial on that charge is to occur later this year. \n The British Columbia Attorney General said an appeal is being considered but that no decision would be made until the ruling and other parts of Sharpe┬╣s case is fully reviewed.