Tas magistrate finds legal book of filth illegal on computer
Court convicts careless councillor
You can’t invent cases as strange as this: a book that is not only legal, but can be borrowed from various Australian libraries* can, in digital form, land the owner with a child porn conviction.
According to News's Hobart Mercury, David Traynor, an alderman in the Clarence council in Tasmania, was convicted for possessing child exploitation material when police found a copy of the 150-year-old book The Pearl stored on his council laptop (among a large number of pornographic but legal images).
The book is not only legal in Australia, but can be ordered from a host of bookshops and is even published as an ebook.
Even more mortifying for the alderman, the material was only reported to police after his laptop was stolen, then recovered, and finally (for reasons not explained in the story) handed over to a forensics expert who duly found deleted pornography.
While it's established that anybody who stores porn on a work computer is acting foolishly, the Tasmanian courts – or law-makers – may have found a new peak of prudishness to determine that material that’s legal on paper is more menacing on a computer. Erotica fans would, it seems, do well to avoid buying it on Kindle or even, as Amazon offers, reading the first chapter online for free.
The alderman has been convicted and sentenced with a two-year good behaviour bond, and placed on Tasmania's sex offenders' register. He is launching an appeal. ®
*My thanks to the Twitterer @NetwonMark who identified the library catalogue entry. ®
I don't have the words....
Really, I don't have the words to say how crazy this case is. The thought that a jury was happy to convict in this case is beyond belief. Also that there were no pictures, it was all text.
But yet again, it has been demonstrated that no sacrifice is to great on the altar of perceived child safety. No matter the injustice it is obviously worth it to people.
It looks like the same desire to protect off spring that allows a mother to lift a car off their child also also allows otherwise normally sane people to take leave of their senses.
The first country to be able to weaponize this special kind of crazy will be unstoppable.
All hail the thought police!
Are you really an idiot, or just trolling?
The story makes it clear the book is legal and only became illegal when it was stored on the guy's computer. How on earth is anyone supposed to know that and avoid the consequences.
Actually, now I think about it; you're not a troll but you're definitely an idiot.
Context context context
This is like porn pictures which are legal in a film certified by the BBCF, but illegal if extracted and taken out of context. Or pictures of kids modelling underwear in clothes catalogues, but potentially illegal if taken out of them.
This is absurd. No different to making certain words illegal, if taken out of sentence.