WHEN FANTASIES ARE ENOUGH TO CONVICT A GUY or Notice: No children were harmed in the making of this cartoon

~~by Lenore Skenazy…. 

Vladimir Nabokov might have been behind bars if Tony Briggs had been at the bench back in the day. Briggs is the judge in Britain who just found Robul Hoque, a 39-year-old animation fan, guilty of downloading “prohibited images” of cartoon girls,

That’s right. Hoque is guilty of possessing distasteful art. Art that depicts sexy, young, FICTIONAL characters. As in NOT REAL! Just like Lolita! For this he received a 9-month sentence, suspended for two years, as well as the disgust of the judge, who apparently has never had a salacious, inappropriate or downright kinky thought. Because that’s what he nailed Hoque for: His fantasies. There was no evidence of Hoque’s involvement with any real children at all.

As I wrote on the Reason.com blog:

If owning or admiring the mere drawn image of something illegal is grounds for sentencing, wouldn’t we have to sentence anyone who goes to the Louvre and parks himself in front of Ingres’ Odalisque? That there’s a concubine and bigamy is against the law. Move on to the Mona Lisa or you’re under arrest!

More immediately: What if you yourself bought a T-shirt with a big pot leaf on it? Isn’t that like drug possession, or at least fantasizing about drug possession? Wear that outside of Colorado and maybe you should expect a knock on the door.

But of course, the issue at hand was child porn, and apparently the topic is so toxic that even reality flies out the window. Consider what just happened to John Grisham:

Grisham was practically pilloried as a child rapist for wondering if our child porn possession sentences are too high—a thought bubble he felt forced to deny ever having had. (See Radley Balko’s “In Defense of John Grisham” for a gimlet-eyed look at how dangerous it is to even suggest there might be some overkill in our child porn laws, even though guys with a small stash of the stuff can end up with much longer sentences than men who actually raped a child.)

So perhaps Judge Briggs is onto something: If you want to fill the jails, just arrest anyone who has ever had a sexual fantasy that involved something other than one man, one woman, a notarized letter of consent (just to be safe) and a condom (ditto).

I bet the judge would find those trials very stimulating!

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    • #11713 Reply
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      Lance Martinez

      I am confident that there is away around a “letter of consent” if that is what a court desired. As Marlon Brandon said in the movie, Apocalypse Now, “the horror, the horror”!

    • #11714 Reply
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      Phil

      I am beyond appalled at the judge in this case. But more so, I am ENRAGED that the accused ADMITTED GUILT instead of fighting it and causing an uproar that would have had the judge’s job on the line.
      Where are all the Anime fans to protest this ignorance of the court system in the U.K.? I was surprised to learn that this was even an issue for the U.K. since most all of the European countries are known to be more relaxed about sex and sexuality than we here in the USA who are descendants of the Europeans but are much more repressed about sex than we care to admit.
      Anime is a HUGE market which draws thousands of fans to conventions every year.
      If this man can be convicted for what he had viewed, imaging how many thousands of people would be filling up the prison cells for owning uncut versions of “Sailor Moon” in which the high school characters are COMPLETELY NAKED as they morph into their ‘super hero’ alter egos. The U.S. versions eliminated that for TV but have restored those scenes for DVD release.
      I believe this judge and prosecutor just made up a law to get a conviction as importing and exporting of movies, TV shows and animation are not illegal. Therefore, unless the U.K, actually WRITES A LAW that clearly states one cannot own Japanese animation that depicts ‘school girls’ in provocative situations, this man did nothing wrong. Where are the attorneys who would like to make a good name for themselves to come to this man’s rescue and sue the court for what could be considered an “illegal sentence”?

    • #11715 Reply
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      Holocaust21

      Thought I’d just chime in here as there seems to be some ignorance as to what happened in this case.

      “I was surprised to learn that this was even an issue for the U.K. since most all of the European countries are known to be more relaxed about sex and sexuality than we here in the USA who are descendants of the Europeans but are much more repressed about sex than we care to admit.”

      The UK is probably one of the most sexually repressed countries in Europe. It was one of the first (along with other anglican countries) to introduce a sex offender register. Increasingly more EU countries are introducing sex offender registers. France has had one for sometime and I believe Portugal is now introducing one. The UK was also one of the first to introduce “grooming” laws and raise the age of child pornography above the age of consent, which now all other european countries also do as a result of EU mandates.

      Also you may not be aware that the UK is in the middle of a vicious witch hunt after the late Jimmy Savile was found to be a “sexual abuser” (though many campaigners believe him to be innocent). This ignited “operation yewtree” whereby aging celebrities are arrested and sometimes convicted of sex crimes that happened 40 years ago (the UK has no statute of limitations). In other news… Norway recently abolished the statute of limitations for sex crimes so that as things get increasingly puritanical in other EU countries they can also follow the UK example…

      Your misconception of Europe being sexually liberal probably comes from the fact that prior to the 21st century Europe was very liberal sexually. Teenage sexuality was in some countries completely legal (the age of consent in Spain for example was 12 before 1999) and in others unlikely to be punished with prison time, unless abuse was alleged. Child porn was, in the 1970s, generally legally available and could be bought in shops (yes, really!!!). It was even produced by “legitimate” commercial operations (for example, read up on “Color Climax” in wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_Climax_Corporation).

      On all accounts, it was a different world back then… Today, globally, we probably live in one of the most puritanical climates in history.

      “Therefore, unless the U.K, actually WRITES A LAW that clearly states one cannot own Japanese animation that depicts ‘school girls’ in provocative situations, this man did nothing wrong.”

      That is EXACTLY what the UK has done. If you read through the article the man was convicted of possessing “prohibited images of children”. This is a cleverly disguised phrase meaning drawings of imaginary children. This particular offence was brought in back in 2009 in the Coroners and Justice Act. You can read more about it here from the Crown Persecution, oh sorry, Prosecution Service: http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/p_to_r/prohibited_images_of_children/

      In the UK, if someone downloads nude images of REAL children then that is classed as the offence of “indecent images of children”. So prohibited = drawings and indecent = real. Got it? Good. Now you can speak newspeak…

    • #11716 Reply
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      ShellyStow

      There is no victim. There is no harm done to anyone. The judge found them “repulsive.” He was offended, and I might have been as well, but if we charged everyone with a crime who offends us, I would have everyone before the court who uses God’s name as profanity, and if repulsive is the criteria, then punkers with nose-rings and green hair would all be in jail if it were my husband doing the evaluating. This is a very dangerous ruling; I don’t know if the slippery slope in England is what it is over here on this side of the pond, but this has terrifying implications.

    • #11717 Reply
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      Phil

      Dear Holocaust21,

      It’s one thing to enlighten someone who may be misinformed to the state of the European countries “today” as perhaps I may be still thinking they were as relaxed as they were when I discovered the very sexually explicit Euro horror genre films in the 1990’s and also, as you said, some countries like Spain had an age of consent as low as 12. Pardon me if I don’t keep up with what OTHER countries are doing with their laws from one day to the next but…it’s ANOTHER thing to out-right INSULT me with your comments of “….there seems to be some ignorance as to what happened in this case.”

      There is a difference between total IGNORANCE and simple misinformation due to the fact that I do NOT TAKE TIME OUT OF MY EVERY DAY LIFE TO KEEP UP WITH THE LAWS OF COUNTRIES I DO NOT LIVE IN.

      Furthermore, this last part of your comment made no sense to me so I shall ignore it as YOUR “arrogance” towards my comment: “Got it? Good. Now you can speak newspeak…”

      What-ever. Thanks for YOUR ignorance on how to conduct a dying art typically known as “conversation”.

    • #11718 Reply
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      Holocaust21

      Phil,

      You seem to have taken my post the wrong way. It was not my intention to imply that you are an “idiot” or anything like that I was merely saying that there is some understandable ignorance (and not only from you) of what has happened in this case.

      The last part of my comment about newspeak is a reference to the book 1984 not to yourself. It was meant as a sarcastic stab at the ridiculously confusing terminology used in the law. If you have not read 1984 I strongly suggest you read it, it has a lot of similarities to the police state we live in today.

      Hmm… As I’m European perhaps this misunderstanding is due to language differences between American and British english… Oh well 🙁

    • #11719 Reply
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      Terry

      I am a registrant. I was convicted under having a fantasy on line too. In a recent court appearance I had, I was testifying to the fact that I had no true way of knowing who was on the other side of the keyboard. Of course, it was a cop they claim. Entrapment is against the law. When reading the law, they design these so called stings to toe the line. With the bad acting of the deputy attorney general and not well educated judge, I lost. What I continue to find as my case ages and time goes on in the registry (over 10 years now), the lack of education of how cops, judges, and DA’s have no technical experience and realizing how untamed the internet is. They also don’t understand internet culture and social structure. They rely on shrinks who lack the same understanding. Both parties are to lazy and uncaring to learn the difference. They use the DSM IV as their guide book for everything. This guide has been proven wrong on several occasions. Its like watching a lost soul going to another lost soul and mistaking their advice for god.

      The reality of conviction of mine and many others demands a reform. While there are extreme cases of an offender needing treatment and monitoring, These extreme cases are the exception and not the rule.

      Megan’s law was another political ruse to not only advance the career of George Runner but continue to promote a social fear in the masses that continues to work quite well. The next step will be compulsory micro chipping of people. Do your homework. Will you who is a law abiding citizen want your very thoughts monitored and even changed by someone else?

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