Downloaded images of children from “The Simpsons” involved in sexually explicit acts don’t constitute child pornography, an Ottawa judge ruled Monday.
Two dirty pictures of Bart and Lisa Simpson and Bart’s friend Milhouse found in the recycle bin of Richard Osborn’s computer can’t be kiddie porn because an objective observer “would find it difficult, if not impossible” to tell the ages of the characters from the cartoon sitcom by viewing the picture, Ontario Court Justice Robert Fournier said.
“My perspective is that the characters depicted could just as easily be perceived as teenagers or young adults,” said Fournier, who acquitted the “depraved” man.
However, the judge accepted a detective’s testimony that Lisa is eight years old on the show, while Bart and Milhouse are 10.
“Absent a depiction of the toddler Maggie Simpson in this cartoon, wearing a diaper and with a soother in mouth, it is virtually impossible to find beyond a reasonable doubt that the participants in this scenario are under 18 years of age,” Fournier remarked. That wasn’t obvious, according to the judge.
But Fournier did find Osborn, 46, guilty of possessing child pornography in connection with a separate set of images. Osborn was also convicted of voyeurism for filming young girls at Mooney’s Bay beach and in a backyard.
Prosecutor John Ramsay charged that downloading and printing the Simpsons pictures constituted the making of child pornography. But Fournier found otherwise.
Osborn has spent the past 10 months in jail. His lawyer, Graham Murray, argued that his client should be released with time served, along with conditions to get help.
The Crown has asked for a 18– to 24-month sentence less time served, along with probation for three years.
Fournier plans to render a decision October 6.