Court backs right to own child porn

A SUPREME COURT judge in Vancouver has ruled that Canadians have a constitutional right to possess child pornography if it is for private use and not for distribution, writes Allan Dowd of Reuters.

Justice Duncan Shaw dismissed the case against a Vancouver man, ruling the threat to privacy and freedom of expression rights posed by the particular section of the Criminal Code under which he was charged outweighed its benefits.

John Sharpe challenged the law after he was arrested when Canadian customs seized a computer disc being shipped to him titled 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 pornography featuring young boys.

But the judge said the "invasion" on personal privacy and freedom of expression was "profound", and there was not enough evidence that the total prohibition reduced problems such as child abuse.

"I find that the limited effectiveness of the prohibition is insufficient to warrant its highly invasive effects." Mr Shaw said in his ruling. British Columbia's Attorney General, Ujjal Dosanjh, said the province was considering an appeal.

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