Man convicted over "illegal" cartoons

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A man in Middlesborough, England, was jailed for possessing "prohibited images of children" -- even though the images in question were cartoon drawings.

His barrister Richard Bennett said: “These are not what would be termed as paedophilic images. These are cartoons.”

And Mr Bennett revealed that such banned images were freely available on legitimate sites.

He said: “This case should serve as a warning to every Manga and Anime fan to be careful. It seems there are many thousands of people in this country, if they are less then careful, who may find themselves in that position too.”

Police found the images when they seized Hoque’s computer from his home on June 13, 2012, said prosecutor Harry Hadfield. He said officers found 288 still and 99 moving images, but none were of real people.

The judge made clear that no victim was harmed, and that this fact was immaterial to his conviction:

“It is important to emphasise that there were no actual children or perpetrators involved. ... This is material that clearly society and the public can well do without. Its danger is that it obviously portrays sexual activity with children, and the more it’s portrayed, the more the ill-disposed may think it’s acceptable.”

Do you live in England? The anime schoolgirl at the top of this post has hidden somewhere in your computer. Can you find her before the thought police do?

Correction: An earlier version of this article's headline said Mr. Hoque was jailed; his sentence was suspended.

Notable Replies

  1. dacree says:

    How do you determine the age of an imaginary cartoon character?

  2. We don't convict people of crimes for violence against imaginary women in video games, either!

    Sexism is bad, but not criminal. The difference is between thought and action.

    The rationale used to convict the creep is not for anyone he harmed, but because his private thoughts are a danger to society. Quo vadis?

  3. Exactly the question I feel this case raises. The usual rationale for child pornography laws is that the children are hurt, or exploited. But cases like this give the lie to that reasoning - since the manga artist almost certainly used no live models, who has been harmed? It really is the naughty thoughts of the reader that are criminalized.

    Crusaders against pornography in general like to say that "pornography causes rape." But well-documented studies have disproved this. Pornograpy causes masturbation, and that's icky.

  4. Draw a naked woman - in a sex act.

    Is it illegal? I label it 'age 26' - nope.

    I erase the label and put 'age 14' - ok now you go to jail.

    This is what you are basically talking about here. If this is 'OK' then anyone who writes horror (Stephen King, or lets say Neil Gaiman - after all Coraline had violence against children), and anything else that is deemed 'unacceptable' should go to jail.

    Oh and apparently reading Lolita should get you branded a pedo as well right? Seriously wtf.

  5. Or the good 'ole US of A in the 60s...

Continue the discussion bbs.boingboing.net

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