Friday, May 22, 2009

Do you own a copy of "Lolita" by Nabokov? Then you're a pedophile!

That seems to be the implication of the Australian court judgment below

A MAN found guilty of possessing child porn in the form of a fictional story about an adult male and pre-pubescent girl, has had his conviction thrown out. Last September, a District Court jury in Brisbane found Don Gordon Campbell guilty of knowingly possessing child exploitation material and he was sentenced to a 12 month intensive correction order. But today the Court of Appeal said the Crown had not proved Campbell ''knowingly possessed'' the material which was found on his computer.

In a unanimous judgment the court quashed the conviction and entered a verdict of not guilty. Justice Peter Dutney said the prosecution had failed to link Campbell to ownership of the files and there was not sufficient evidence to sustain a guilty verdict.

The court heard that police went to Campbell's home after a tip off and found five computers on which there were two copies of the story. A computer expert said one version of the story had been downloaded from the internet and the second version had been copied across from that file.

The case was the latest in which there was confusion about the definition of "child exploitation material" and "possession" in child porn offences. Before the original trial there was legal argument about whether a fictional story constituted child exploitation material. The judge ruled it was not necessary for the offending material to depict a real person as long as that person was a child under the age of 16.

The Court of Appeal found the judge was correct in finding the story was child pornography but said the Crown had not proved its case on the "knowingly possessing" component.


Schools compared -- despite opposition from teachers

For the first time in Queensland, parents tomorrow will be able to compare their primary school's academic performance to others in a special liftout. More than 1300 state, Catholic and independent primary schools will be listed in The Courier-Mail with information based on school annual reports.

The Queensland Teachers Union has labelled the liftout irresponsible and "bordering on deliberate fraud" but parents and the state Opposition have welcomed it.

Professor Geoff Masters, the expert commissioned by Premier Anna Bligh to help raise Queensland students' literacy and numeracy standards, said uniform test results provided a very important "snapshot", but a snapshot only, for parents.

It follows a two-month long investigation, including numerous requests to the State Government and its authorities for a centralised list of Year 3, 5 and 7 academic data. The requests have either been ignored, refused or referred, prompting The Courier-Mail to extract the information from the latest annual reports, which are legally required to be posted on school websites. The academic information includes results from the 2007 state-based tests.

Shadow Education Minister Bruce Flegg said the publication of academic information was necessary to drive change. "The reality is nobody took the deficiencies of numeracy and literacy seriously until the NAPLAN (national tests) results were made public," Dr Flegg said.

Wilston mother-of-three Penny Williams said how a school performed academically was one of her biggest concerns and she looked forward to reading the data.

But QTU president Steve Ryan said the results were meaningless unless a full disclosure of school resources, enrolment restrictions, other assessment items and "dodgy" conditions under which the 2007 tests were administered and collated, was made.


Nasty old police bitch fires younger woman

Jessica Parfrey was described as "valuable" by her police superiors immediately before she was sacked for allegedly offering sex to male colleagues. But the woman who recommended the 19-year-old Newcastle officer be fired yesterday admitted she overruled the glowing assessment.

It was Sergeant Heather Campbell, Ms Parfrey's education officer, who wrote an internal report saying the probationary constable "stalled . . . and never improved". That led to Ms Parfrey being dismissed in late 2007 after at least four of her male colleagues reported her for making sexual advances - including two at a drunken off-duty party.

Ms Parfrey, now 21, has taken the matter to the Industrial Relations Commission. She denies the sexual harassment allegations and said it was she who was harassed. Ms Parfrey said she was not even told she was under investigation while her superiors - including Sgt Campbell - hauled her in for meetings.

In the witness box yesterday, Sgt Campbell was shown a report from Ms Parfrey's last field training officer which read: "I am confident the probationer will become a valuable member of the police force." But she denied her own damning assessment of Ms Parfrey was unfair. "There were other factors considered - her professionalism, her conduct, her attendance at work," she said.

Ms Parfrey's lawyer Tony Roberts asked: "It is in complete contrast with the officers who were with her in the field, correct?" "Yes," Sgt Campbell replied.


Another failure of official child protection

DELAYS in getting medical treatment for a 10-year-old Adelaide boy led to his death when an ear infection turned septic, a coroner has found. Jarrad Delroy Roberts, who lived in squalor, died in October 2006, though a post-mortem examination found his condition would have responded to antibiotics.

South Australian coroner Mark Johns said if the boy had received earlier medical treatment, his death could have been avoided. "Jarrad's death was entirely preventable,'' Mr Johns said. "It is clear that a significant cause of Jarrad's tragic death was the fact that medical treatment was not afforded to him during the week and a half, or thereabouts, that he was ill prior to his death.''

In evidence to the coronial inquiry the boy's mother, Michelle Roberts, said she did not notice he was sick until two days before he died. But Mr Johns said it must have been apparent much earlier that Jarrad was suffering from an unpleasant ear infection. He said by the time the boy was taken to see a doctor, it was too late and he was in the grip of an overwhelming sepsis.

The coroner also detailed what he said were the boy's unusual living circumstances. "He was living in an unsanitary environment with a mother who was completely unable to provide him with proper care,'' Mr Johns said. "His diet was completely inadequate, consisting only of takeaway fast foods. "The circumstances in which he lived were unsanitary and would have exposed him to risk of infection that would not be tolerated in any reasonable household.''

The coroner also criticised authorities for not acting on the boy's habitual non-attendance at school. He said prosecutions against parents or guardians were almost never launched. "In my opinion they should be,'' he said.


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