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Photo of restaurant statue a focus at child sex doll trial

Kenneth Harrison
Kenneth Harrison

WARNING: THIS STORY CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT  One exhibit was entered into evidence Thursday in the provincial court trial of a man accused of mail-ordering a child sex doll: a photograph of a statue from a well-known St. John’s restaurant.

Lawyer Bob Buckingham, who is defending 52-year-old Kenneth Wayne Harrisson, presented a photo of the statue located outside the Bier Markt on Harbour Drive to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Peter Collins.

A replica of the famous Manneken Pis statue in Brussels, the restaurant chain’s statue is of a little boy, naked and urinating.

“Does this constitute child pornography?” Buckingham asked Collins.

Collins said no.

“Why doesn’t it?” Buckingham asked. “It’s of a child, naked, and he appears to be handling his penis.”

“It’s an artist’s depiction of a child. It likely wasn’t designed for a sexual purpose,” Collins said.

“What about if it was outside a nightclub that appeals to pedophiles?” Buckingham asked.

“I don’t know,” Collins replied. 

“You said what makes (the doll) child porn is the vaginal opening,” Buckingham said. “What if the hole was closed? Is it still child porn?”

“Yes,” Collins said. “Because of the way the doll is made and the reason why it was made.”

Collins, an expert on child sex crimes who has served as an expert witness in more than 500 cases across the country, testified that in his opinion, a doll that was shipped to Harrisson’s address but was intercepted by authorities in January 2013 is child pornography. While Collins admitted he hasn’t assessed Harrisson, he said he has seen photos of the doll and viewed the manufacturer’s website.

In a report prepared at the request of the RNC, Collins wrote he couldn’t diagnose Harrisson. However, he wrote, “If he ordered a sex doll from the aforementioned company in Japan, in my professional opinion he likely has an erotic attraction to prepubescent children. Clinically, the majority of these men then meet the criteria for the diagnosis of pedophilia.

“It’s not uncommon for individuals who are sexually attracted to children to use images or surrogates to fuel their fantasies. Also used are sex dolls.”

Referring to the restaurant statue, Collins reiterated that at issue is the purpose of an object and how a person intends to use it. Parents taking photos of their small children nude in the bath isn’t child pornography, he said by way of example, but if someone “takes a copy of the photos and puts them in a scrapbook called ‘Hot Babies 1995,’ in that context, it’s child pornography.”

“Have you ever ordered anything off the Internet and not got what you wanted?” Buckingham asked Collins in another line of questioning. “It’s like the children’s book about the hockey sweater. If you ordered a Montreal Canadiens sweater and got a Toronto Maple Leafs sweater instead, you might get made fun of, right?”

Buckingham was referring to the story in Quebec author Roch Carrier’s “The Hockey Sweater.”

Harrisson is being tried on four charges: one count each of possessing child pornography and mailing obscene matter, and one count each of smuggling prohibited goods and possessing prohibited goods, contrary to the Customs Act. The latter two charges were laid by the Canada Border Services Agency. 

On Jan. 30, 2013, border services officers at the International Mail Centre in Toronto intercepted a package they suspected contained pornographic material related to children. On March 12 of that year, members of the RNC’s criminal investigation division and the border services agency’s criminal investigations division searched a home in St. John’s and took Harrisson into custody. He was later released on strict conditions.

Harrisson’s trial has seen a number of delays due to legal applications and other issues. It is set to continue Friday morning.

tara.bradbury@thetelegram.com

Twitter: tara_bradbury

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