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Canadian pedo vindicated by appellate court

Judge finds simple possession no boost to child exploitation -- yeah, right...

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The British Columbia Court of Appeal yesterday upheld the acquittal of retired civil servant John Sharpe for possession of child pornography on grounds that banning possession violates citizens' rights to privacy and freedom of expression. Judge Mary Southin, the ruling's author, also found that banning simple possession would do little to discourage child exploitation. Loud calls for her resignation followed immediately. The Canadian Family Action Coalition (CFAC) demanded that she be fired. "Canadians from coast to coast are outraged at this court's decision," CFAC director Peter Stock announced. And no doubt they are. Prime Minister Jean Chretien wisely dismissed suggestions that he call an emergency Parliament session to overturn the ruling. The PM said he would leave the matter to the Supreme Court, rather than invoke special powers to intervene. "The government of British Columbia will appeal to the Supreme Court," Chretien said. "We'll have to let due process take place." Fair enough, especially as the contest is a no-win situation for any politician. The protection of adult privacy, and the protection of children from sexual exploitation, are equally laudable goals. The B.C. Ministry of Justice will bring the case before the Supreme Court, which is obliged to hear it because the appellate ruling was not unanimous. Justice Minister Anne McLellan expressed confidence that the Supreme Court will find the national law banning possession of child pornography to be constitutional. She may have a slight problem with arithmetic; she's 0 for 2 just now, and confidence is the last emotion one would expect her to be feeling. And as for Sharpe, he's got his porn, all right; but he must be running out of friends quite rapidly. He can't be much admired by his neighbours; he's become a libertarian poster boy with whom no privacy advocate could possibly wish to be associated; and countless other envious pedos, presently doing hard time for simple possession, have got to be adding his name to a very special list. ® Full Register Net child porn coverage

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