Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Child pornography and artistic merit

On its face, this decision seems fair enough. Indeed, juxtapositional montage alone (rather than the much-vaguer concept of “artistic merit”) should surely be a defence to such charges, especially when the “innocent” element of the montage is a fictional child.

Wondering how the police had came to raid Glen Walls’s house – and so find the images in question – I did a bit of research. Turns out that the kiddie porn charges were a vestigial side-show from 2002 charges of indecently assaulting a 15/16 y.o. boy student of Walls’s, nine years earlier – charges which by now would seem to have lapsed.

Not sure whose bright idea it was to co-prosecute the kiddie porn and indecent assault charges (given the length of time between the two alleged offences, just to name one obvious reason for their asynchronicity). Possibly, it’s because Australian cops – a la Detective Vogelsang’s evidence the Ern Malley obscenity trial – just can’t keep themselves from the diva-like parading of their dumb opinions on art to an assembled courtoom (even if in doing so they are distracted from pursuing real-world child abuse):

"How can you possibly say that's artistic?" [Prosecutor Peter] Jones asked [the artist].

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