The Globe & Mail
Thursday, April 15, 1999
page A4

Ottawa defends child-porn law

by Erin Anderssen

Any Charter of Rights violation caused by criminal sanctions against possessing child pornography is justified to protect children from abuse, Ottawa says in a 30-page submission to the B.C. Court of Appeal.

"Child pornography conveys an even more chilling 'message of obscenity' than does adult pornography", the federal document says in its arguments against a January ruling that essentially legalized possession of child pornography in B.C.

"... Possession of child pornography, whether visual or written, fuels the sexual fantasies of pedophiles and will lead some pedophiles to act upon their fantasies and abuse children."

the submission, released yesterday, criticizes Mr. Justice Duncan Shaw of the B.C. Supreme Court for playing down how the Criminal Code protects children from sexual predators. Criminal sanctions for possessing child pornography, the federal government says, reduce production by cutting demand.

The government makes the familiar argument that child pornography may prompt predators into action, or be used to entice children into sexual activities - factors the submission states, the Judge Shaw was wrong to ignore.

The judge did not give proper weight to the influence that child pornography has on pedophiles, the document says, and relied too much on one paper that suggested the material may serve as a sexual outlet for some individuals.

In January, Judge Shaw tossed out a child-pornography charge against a B.C. man, saying the Criminal Code section covering possession of the material is too broad and violates the Charter of Rights. The B.C. Court of Appeal is considering the case this month.

Copyright © 1999 by The Globe & Mail. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.