B.C. man who spent 5 years in Thai jail for sex abuse to return to court

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VANCOUVER - A British Columbia man who served five years in a Thai prison for sexually abusing a child is scheduled to return to court today.

Christopher Neil appeared Monday before a provincial court judge in Richmond, B.C., just south of Vancouver, but his case was put off until today.

Mark Thompson, a lawyer appointed to act as Neil's duty counsel, has said he will see a publication ban on the proceedings to protect his client’s right to a fair hearing.

The Crown has also indicated it wants a publication ban on the hearing that will determine the conditions of Neil’s freedom.

Police say Neil has not committed a crime in Canada, but used a law aimed at preserving public safety to arrest him when he arrived Friday at Vancouver's airport.

Neil's case gained notoriety in 2007 when police widely released video images unscrambling an Internet photograph of Neil.

He became the subject of an international manhunt when he was no longer disguised by a digital swirl in pictures of abuse posted online.

International media began referring to him as "Swirl Face."

Geographic location: VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Richmond Canada

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