JIS News

The House of Representatives yesterday (Sept. 22) passed the Child Pornography Act, after a compromise was reached on some concerns, which were raised by Members last week.
Among the issues raised, which Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, felt were not adequately addressed in the Bill, were situations where persons may be in possession of pornography for the purpose of genuine research.
“We are proposing to add a sub-paragraph to clause five (of) sub-section four, (to) make provision for someone in possession of pornography for legitimate purposes. The proposed amendment is if he possesses the child pornography concerned for the purpose of bona fide educational, scientific, legal, or medical research. It is an important cover that was not in the Bill as (originally) drafted,” Mr. Golding explained.
Meanwhile, the amendments also remove sub-sections one and two of clause five, which made it an offence for persons to possess child pornography, without lawful excuse or justification.
“We felt on reflection (that this) was very broad. In other words, it is implying that there is a lawful basis on which you can possess child pornography, but it was so wide that it was left to you to go to a court and demonstrate that you were in lawful possession of it. The Chief Parliamentary Counsel felt that we needed to say quite emphatically, that it is unlawful to possess it, but to make, in very prescribed terms, those situations where it would be a justified possession,” Mr. Golding said.
This provision has been replaced by a subsection that makes it an offence for persons to “knowingly” possess child pornography in circumstances other than for the purpose of distributing, importing or exporting, as set out in section four of the Act.
“It is significant to point out that section four says a person commits an offence who knowingly produces, and distributes any advertisement likely to be understood as conveying pornography. What the Bill does is impose severe penalty including imprisonment, not exceeding 20 years, on someone who produces child pornography, so we are trying to go heavily for the persons, who make this a business,” the Prime Minister told the House.
Another matter of concern was the provision, which stated that no person is liable of being involved in child pornography if upon coming into possession of, or accessing the material, they take reasonable steps to avoid or “destroy” it.
“There are web-pages that you can’t destroy. Sometimes its even hard to click it away. What we needed to do is soften that a bit and to say that if you took reasonable steps to avoid, (or) if you sought to remove it, but also, if it’s something that can be destroyed, if you sought to destroy it,” Mr. Golding stated.
The Bill provides for sentences of up to 20 years, as well as fines of as much as $500,000.
Offences include: visual presentations with children engaged in sexual activities; audio recordings or written material that have, as its dominant characteristic, the description, presentation or representation, for a sexual purpose, sexual activity with a child; and any visual representation, audio recording or written material that advocates or counsels sexual activity with a child.
It describes sexual activities as: actual or simulated sexual intercourse; activity, other than sexual intercourse involving the penetration of the anus, vagina or mouth with any part of a person’s body, or the anus or vagina with anything else; touching a sexual organ or anal region in a manner, which is reasonably considered as sexual; bestiality; masturbation; or sadistic or masochistic abuse.
Visual representation includes – produced images; undeveloped film; videotape; or data stored in electronic form capable of conversion into a visual image.

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