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Missing police notes are fundamental in St. John’s sex-doll case, defence says

Kenneth Harrisson.
Kenneth Harrisson.

Information being withheld, Bob Buckingham claims

The lawyer for a man accused of possessing child pornography after he allegedly imported a child-like sex doll from Japan told the court Monday he believes information in the case is purposely being hidden from him — and he wants it.

Bob Buckingham, representing Kenneth Harrisson, told provincial court Judge Mark Pike he wants to know why police have no notes on certain aspects of the case, including their communications with forensic psychiatrist Dr. Peter Collins and details surrounding an effort to obtain a warrant to search Harrisson’s home, an effort that was denied by a judge at the time.

“There’s a dearth of information missing,” Buckingham told Pike.

“What relevance is it? That’s my problem here,” Pike responded.

“It goes to how the investigation was carried out,” Buckingham said. “In this particular case, someone, for some reason, is keeping information from the defence. That information, individually and collectively, is important to the defence.”

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Harrisson, 52, was charged in March 2013 after police performed a “controlled delivery” of the box containing the doll, which was addressed to Harrisson and sent from a Japanese company — that was on Canada Border Services’ watch list — to Harrisson’s downtown St. John’s home.

Buckingham has made applications to the court alleging Harrisson’s charter rights were violated during the investigation.

Collins has previously testified that in his opinion, the doll, which he described as about four feet tall without any sexually mature characteristics and advertised on the manufacturer’s website as being for sexual use, constitutes child pornography.

Const. Terry Follett of the RNC’s child exploitation unit also took the stand, and Buckingham questioned him on his note-taking throughout the course of the investigation, saying it was detailed but contained no reference to communication with Collins. Collins had been sent photos of the doll and was asked for his opinion, and sent his response directly to Follett.

Follett said he didn’t recall if it was he or the Crown who had contacted Collins, and couldn’t explain why he had no notes about it in his files.

Pike asked Buckingham why it mattered who contacted Collins.

“What he was sent and how it was described is important,” Buckingham said.

Calling Buckingham’s application a “forest for the trees argument,” Crown prosecutor Trisha McCarthy begged to differ.

“The relevant issue is the material upon which the expert relied, which the defence has,” she said, adding Buckingham had the chance to cross-examine both Collins and Follett, and would have known about the issues at hand four years ago.

McCarthy will finish her submissions to the court when Harrisson’s case is back in court Tuesday morning.

Twitter: @tara_bradbury

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