Monday, May 12, 2014

Canada’s soft touch on pedophiles feeds get ‘tough on crime’ anger

Seven years ago, international authorities were furiously working to find a man the public dubbed “Swirlface,” who was sexually abusing young boys and putting photographs of the assaults online. Swirlface blurred his face by using a photo manipulation effect known as a swirl. The grotesque images of the abuse were reportedly all too clear, but the face of the adult man responsible remained hidden.

Not for long. Technical experts with the German federal police agency were able to reverse the blurring of the images, and the public responded, identifying Christopher Neil, of British Columbia, as the man in the abuse photos. Neil fled South Korea, where he’d been working as a teacher, but was soon arrested in Thailand. Convicted of sex crimes against children, he was incarcerated there for five years. Upon his release in 2012, Neil returned to Canada, where he was detained upon arrival under Section 810.1 of the Criminal Code, which allows for people to be taken into custody where reasonable concern exists that they may harm others. Neil agreed to abide by strict conditions and was allowed to go free.

Many Canadians were disturbed by that. This was a man who had abused a number of children — how many, no one knows — including boys as young as six. But the law is the law, and Neil did agree to the terms the judge set out for him.

Or pretended to agree, at any rate.  (more...)


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