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Lawyers make final arguments in St. John's child sex doll case

Kenneth Harrisson took the stand in his own defence Friday at provincial court in St. John’s. His testimony was interrupted when he collapsed during cross-examination.
Kenneth Harrisson. - Rosie Mullaley file photo/The Telegram

Judge Mark Pike to deliver verdict on the case of Kenneth Harrison later this month

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

Six years after his arrest for allegedly importing a child sex doll from Japan, Kenneth Harrisson will learn his fate later this month.

Judge Mark Pike heard closing arguments from Crown and defence lawyers in Harrisson's long-running case in provincial court in St. John's Tuesday.

Harrisson, 54, has pleaded not guilty to charges of possessing child pornography and mailing obscene material, as well as two charges under the federal Customs Act relating to smuggling and possessing prohibited goods.

He took the stand as the only witness for the defence during his trial, telling the court he had purchased the doll from a Japanese website for companionship only. Though he has used the words "sex doll" in an online search, this was because those adult dolls, particularly the female ones, were the most lifelike, he testified.

Harrisson said he had wanted to buy an adult-like doll to replace his son, who died of sudden infant death syndrome in 1986 at the age of six months. He planned to dress the doll in male clothing, he said.

In his closing arguments, defence lawyer Bob Buckingham took aim at forensic psychiatrist Dr. Peter Collins, who testified at Harrisson's trial in 2017.

Kenneth Wayne Harrisson (right) waits for his trial to start in provincial court, while his lawyers Bob Buckingham and Brittany Whalen prepare in the background.
Kenneth Wayne Harrisson (right) waits for his trial to start in provincial court, while his lawyers Bob Buckingham and Brittany Whalen prepare in the background.

Collins told the court the doll met the Criminal Code criteria for child pornography, in his opinion, noting it came complete with "dishwasher-safe removable inserts." Collins, an expert in sexually deviant behaviour, told the court that pedophiles can sometimes become "incited" by imagery, including sex dolls, while others might be satisfied without committing sex crimes. Outcomes differ according to various factors, Collins said.

Buckingham said Collins' testimony was biased and therefore unreliable, calling him a "hired gun" for the police to confirm what they wanted to hear.

Harrisson never had the chance to open the box containing the doll when he received it from an undercover police officer posing as a postal worker, and the doll was never fully assembled, Buckingham said, implying it hadn't been determined whether or not the doll was a depiction of a child or not.

Prosecutor Bill Howse noted Collins had been clear in his assessment of that doll as having the proportions and appearance of a child, and it had come with lubricant, underwear and an "exaggerated vaginal cavity made to accept an adult penis."

Howse also pointed out Harrisson had paid the exact amount of a child sex doll on the Japanese company's website, which was substantially higher than the advertised amount for the adult doll Harrisson said he had ordered. When he was arrested, Harrisson had told police the doll was a "love doll," Howse said.

"Isn't that consistent with what he's saying (about wanting a doll for companionship)?" Pike asked.

"You could interpret that as a sex doll," Howse replied.

Howse also spoke about Harrisson having "misdirected" the court during his testimony by giving the impression he had lost a baby daughter, not a son.

Harrisson had revealed upon cross-examination that it was a son he had lost.

Howse questioned how Harrisson's alleged plan to order an adult female doll to replace his son made sense.

Pike will return with his verdict May 23.

Harrisson ordered the doll in January 2013 and was arrested two months later, when police performed a "controlled delivery" of the four-foot box containing the doll. The doll was addressed to Harrisson and sent from a company that was on Canada Border Services' watch list.

Twitter: @tara_bradbury


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