Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

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Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby Dream » Sun May 25, 2008 11:56 pm UTC

Bill Henson, the Australian photographer, is "likely to be prosecuted" for publishing images of a person under the age of 16 in what police apparently believe is a sexual situation. Henson is one of the world's most eminent photographers, and while I haven't seen the work in question here, previous works covering a similar subject matter are without doubt not child pornography.
Hugh Macken, the president of the New South Wales Law Society, said a prosecution would only be successful if it could be proved that the photographs were designed for sexual gratification, rather than artistic purposes.

There is no chance that it can be proven in court that this man's work is not art. This is a groundless prosecution. All the more so when you realise that it was local newspapers that "tipped off" police to the content of the exhibition. This is a very scary precedent.

First of all, if a photographer like Henson can be prosecuted for this, what stops anyone, anywhere being prosecuted for having any image that shows a <16 year old nipple?

Secondly, there is a book of this man's work on my bookshelf, including young nudes. Am I going to end up on a sex offender's register?

Thirdly, 13 year olds do have a sexuality. While I don't believe these pictures are anything to do with sexual gratification, how can portraying in at something so natural and normal be wrong?
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Re: Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby Lycur » Mon May 26, 2008 12:55 am UTC

As you said, it's groundless prosecution. A conviction would be terrifying, this just gets filed under dumb.

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Re: Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby zenten » Mon May 26, 2008 1:28 pm UTC

Watch out Anne Geddes, you're next!

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Re: Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby zealo » Mon May 26, 2008 3:25 pm UTC

when it came on the tv, my stepmum ranted about how disgusting and horrifying this guy is etc (she is one of those types who always takes someone behind a news desk extremely seriously)

while i disagreed with her, i had no idea how i could voice this disagreement other than "you are a mindless sheep, stop talking." which probably would have resulted in larger problems if said aloud.

is there a way to phrase an explanation that 'people' won't hear as "people have the right to make child porn"?
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Re: Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby zenten » Mon May 26, 2008 5:18 pm UTC

zealo wrote:when it came on the tv, my stepmum ranted about how disgusting and horrifying this guy is etc (she is one of those types who always takes someone behind a news desk extremely seriously)

while i disagreed with her, i had no idea how i could voice this disagreement other than "you are a mindless sheep, stop talking." which probably would have resulted in larger problems if said aloud.

is there a way to phrase an explanation that 'people' won't hear as "people have the right to make child porn"?


"His pictures aren't child porn"

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Re: Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby Vaniver » Mon May 26, 2008 5:33 pm UTC

Has anyone seen the pictures in question? It is possible for something to be pornography and art at the same time, and well-done child pornography probably ought to be punished like normal child pornography.

But it's also easy for child defense groups to see sexuality when there isn't any. When there's a question like this, the best place to settle it is probably the courtroom.

But respected figures in the art world defended the moody photographs, with their dark backgrounds, claiming they were neither "sexualised" nor pornographic. Judy Annear, the senior photography curator at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, said: "They're beautiful. They're very, very still. They're very formal, they're very classical. They're a bit like looking at an Ancient Greek Attic vase."
Because, you know, there aren't any pornographic Greek vases. *cough*
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Re: Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby Wanderingcowboy » Mon May 26, 2008 6:02 pm UTC

Is it just me, or does this Hetty Johnston seem a lot like Jack Thompson?

"Hetty Johnston, a child protection campaigner, denounced the pictures. "It's child exploitation, it's criminal activity, and it should be prosecuted," she said. "These are clearly illegal child pornography images. It's not about art at all.""

It's when people take these extreme positions that my brain tries to hemorrhage itself away from the stupidity.
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Re: Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby EsotericWombat » Mon May 26, 2008 6:21 pm UTC

Doesn't surprise me at all. We live in a country where a fifteen year old girl was charged with production and possession of child pornography because she took pictures of herself in the nude
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Re: Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby gmalivuk » Mon May 26, 2008 8:46 pm UTC

You and I don't live in the same country where this is happening, btw.

Here (NSFW probably) is an article that includes one of the allegedly "pornographic" pictures, which I think is nothing of the kind. There isn't a single element in that picture that suggests anything remotely sexual* or pornographic. It's a simple artistic nude.

* Unless, I suppose, your mind is such that a picture of a topless 13 year old automatically elicits sexual thoughts. But that seems more to be your problem than the photographer's...
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Re: Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby EsotericWombat » Mon May 26, 2008 9:38 pm UTC

Well oops. But that's still the reason it doesn't surprise me.
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Re: Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby Dream » Tue May 27, 2008 2:19 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:Has anyone seen the pictures in question? It is possible for something to be pornography and art at the same time, and well-done child pornography probably ought to be punished like normal child pornography.

But it's also easy for child defense groups to see sexuality when there isn't any. When there's a question like this, the best place to settle it is probably the courtroom.


As I said, I have a book by Henson. It's about as far from pornograhpic as my imagination can get and still involve naked bodies. I don't mean there is no sexuality present, or that it would be impossible to become aroused by them, were you of such a persuasion. But these images are about far, far more than the flesh on display, and are obviously not intended for sexual gratification.

But the courtroom is not the place for this. If Bill Henson, who is internationally famous for this kind of thing doesn't get any benefit of the doubt, that is worrying. If all the precedent set by him and others of this kind of work being socially acceptable can be cast aside at the whim of the police that is worrying. If costing thousands of dollars and being displayed on a gallery wall isn't enough to define an image as not intended for sexual gratification, that is worrying. Basically, if it turns out that Henson has a case to answer for this, then I have a case to answer for owning one of his books. And if the points above aren't enough to keep Henson out of court, there is hardly a chance of me keeping it out of court.

And before anyone asserts that this is different because it is in the public eye, remember this was all based on a single "tip off". Up until this tip off, this was considered to be entirely acceptable. Based on this, I can easliy imagine one of my neighbours denouncing me to the police for possessing child porn, and the police dragging me into court to (attempt to) prove my innocence when they find that book. If Henson were convicted, I'd be fucked.
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Re: Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby Vaniver » Tue May 27, 2008 3:04 am UTC

But the courtroom is not the place for this. If Bill Henson, who is internationally famous for this kind of thing doesn't get any benefit of the doubt, that is worrying. If all the precedent set by him and others of this kind of work being socially acceptable can be cast aside at the whim of the police that is worrying. If costing thousands of dollars and being displayed on a gallery wall isn't enough to define an image as not intended for sexual gratification, that is worrying. Basically, if it turns out that Henson has a case to answer for this, then I have a case to answer for owning one of his books. And if the points above aren't enough to keep Henson out of court, there is hardly a chance of me keeping it out of court.
A prosecution is not the same as a conviction.

Whether or not Henson's work is legal or illegal is obviously a legal question- which means it should be decided by lawyers, judges, and juries*, not artists. Precedent is why settling this in the courtroom is appropriate- because this hasn't been challenged before (as far as I know) and now any future challenges can point back to this ruling.

I still find it curious that you think being valuable or being well-made makes something so it can't be sexually gratifying.

Now, whether or not child pornography should or shouldn't be outlawed is another subject. I find limitations on freedom of expression sketchy, but I find child pornography sketchier. But given that a law against it is in place, this is the way things should play out- a person whose job it is to be easy offended accuses some work of being indecent, the courts look at it and decide if it's indecent, and then there's more information on what constitutes decency and life moves on. Immunity from accusation, of any sort, is so much more dangerous individual accusations.


*I'm not that familiar with the Australian legal system, and so don't know whether it's a judge's decision or a jury's decision if a particular work is pornographic or not.
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Re: Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby masher » Tue May 27, 2008 3:10 am UTC

One point that has been raised in the media over here (Australia) is the issue of informed consent.

Is a 13 y/o girl able to give informed consent to be photographed naked?

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Re: Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby Vaniver » Tue May 27, 2008 3:13 am UTC

masher wrote:One point that has been raised in the media over here (Australia) is the issue of informed consent.

Is a 13 y/o girl able to give informed consent to be photographed naked?
If they aren't, their parents should be- otherwise harmless baby pictures are legislated to be obscenities. Well, you could come up with another way to exempt those, but parental consent seems to be the easiest.
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Re: Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby masher » Tue May 27, 2008 3:22 am UTC

Parental consent is pretty good when they're a baby (and not really identifiable), but how do you properly deal with teenagers?

How can the parents know what their child will think of the photos in 10-20 yrs time? What does the child think they'll think in 10-20 yrs time?


Anyhoo, this pretty much sums up what I think atm.

I'm undecided (to quote someone else, "I'm not offended, but I am being challenged") on the pornography issue (leaning towards the "art" side), but informed consent issues are a biggy for me.

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Re: Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby psyck0 » Tue May 27, 2008 5:44 am UTC

I am not certain why art requires photographing children naked, or how naked children makes good art, but then I don't understand how kicking a can down a street or living in a museum with fleas in your hair is art either. Maybe I just don't get it.

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Re: Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby Quixotess » Tue May 27, 2008 6:05 am UTC

I don't know what I think of that picture. I can tell it's not intended to titillate, but really, if there's a famous photographer saying "come on, pose for me, don't you want to pose for me?" then even if she didn't really want to, I can see how she might have been pressured into it.

If concerns have been raised, "but he's famous!" "but he's done this stuff before!" or "but none of his other photographs are child porn!" are not good defenses against them.

Also, Dream, I don't think your argument that if he is convicted for this photo, then I will be convicted for that photo holds up. They're different photos, and until the ones you have are legally considered child porn, you should be good. Not only that, but "if he's convicted, I will be in trouble" is also not a valid argument against the charges. The only valid argument is "this child was able to consent to these photographs, and she did." Which, as Vaniver has said, is best argued in a court of law.
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Re: Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby zealo » Tue May 27, 2008 6:11 am UTC

laws censoring artistic expression is always a bad thing.
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Re: Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby masher » Tue May 27, 2008 6:28 am UTC

zealo wrote:laws censoring artistic expression is always a bad thing.


What happens if the "artistic expression" is inciting hatred?* what if it involves starving a dog?**

Art still must work within The Law.


* Whatever that may mean...
**Yes I know this is not supposed to have happened...

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Re: Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby Quixotess » Tue May 27, 2008 6:41 am UTC

Laws against the exploitation of children are just, and the fact that they may also serve to limit someone's artistic expression does not make them any less just.
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Re: Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby Dream » Tue May 27, 2008 7:40 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:I still find it curious that you think being valuable or being well-made makes something so it can't be sexually gratifying.


I meant that "intention" to be sexually gratifying would be very hard to pin on this. It would be very similar to trying to pin the charge on a cosmetic surgery brochure. It is very clearly what it is, and that is not intended to be gratifying sexually. You could derive gratification from it, but arguing that that is why the artist made it is very difficult. Or should be. I didn't mean that expensive = not porn.
A prosecution is not the same as a conviction.


No, it is not. But there must be grounds for that prosecution. Given the "grounds" involved here, you could send the police into a boxing gym to make sure every single punch was sport and not assault. Then the police would shut the place down until they were satisfied there was no assault involved, while making statments to the effect that they were pressing for prosecution, i.e. they considered a crime to have been committed.

Quixotess wrote:Also, Dream, I don't think your argument that if he is convicted for this photo, then I will be convicted for that photo holds up. They're different photos, and until the ones you have are legally considered child porn, you should be good.* Not only that, but "if he's convicted, I will be in trouble" is also not a valid argument against the charges. The only valid argument is "this child was able to consent to these photographs, and she did." Which, as Vaniver has said, is best argued in a court of law.


From the article:
However, police, who were alerted by local newspapers, said they had identified "items depicting a child under the age of 16 years of age in a sexual context".


Sexual context is the issue, not consent. If these images are ruled to be sexual in nature, then that will set a very strong precedent that other, very similar images by the same artist are also illegal. Apparently the police are the arbiters of what constitutes sexual nature, and the artist has to prove otherwise. Innocent until proven guilty seems not to apply. And I don't want to end up in court over something I bought perfectly legally. I shouldn't have to defend myself in this regard. If being on a gallery wall isn't enough to ensure a soft approach by the police, being in a book certainly isn't.

"If he's convicted, I'll be in trouble" is not an argument against the law. It is an expression of the lunacy of the situation. If any activist can have the police shut down an art exhibition on it's opening night on their word alone, and have the police start talking about prosecution then that activist has far too much power. Did the police wait, and involve some experts? No. Did the consult the artist? No. Did they even contact the child concerned? No. Instead they just took the images off the wall, and told everyone they were of a sexual nature. Final analogy: If this were a drugs offence, it would be like the police finding white powder in my flat, walking out the door and telling the world media that there was a kilo of cocaine there. Without even testing the stuff to see if they were right. When a bunch of chemists and drung dealers look at it and say, "that doesn't look like any cocaine I ever saw."

*the photos in the book on my shelf are hanging on gallery walls, all over the world. Which gallery will this woman go after next if the images are ruled sexual? If it one from the series Lux et Nox I'd be a de facto criminal.
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Re: Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby LE4dGOLEM » Tue May 27, 2008 12:45 pm UTC

So, if the subject were 18, but the photograph were otherwise identical, would it be porn? I'd say, no. The image in the article linked is not, in my opinion, not pornography. If it's not pornography, it can't be child pornography.

EDIT: the whole "but hes a famous fotogrofor!" argument I can understand - because he's an otherwise reliable person who knows his photography, he is not unknowing when it comes to photos. He knows what should be considered art, and wanted (I'm assuming) to explore a new angle.


Of course, if it turns out, unrelated, he's a paedophile/child molester, then yeah, these images are bad, because then it could be argued (fairly convincingly) that he did it because he likes little girls
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Re: Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby Wanderingcowboy » Tue May 27, 2008 12:50 pm UTC

LE4dGOLEM wrote:So, if the subject were 18, but the photograph were otherwise identical, would it be porn? I'd say, no. The image in the article linked is not, in my opinion, not pornography. If it's not pornography, it can't be child pornography.

I think that's actually a really good way to put it. I was trying to think of how to describe it, but your way is better. There just doesn't seem to be anything sexual about that picture. I mean, yes, I'm sure there are some guys who will still get off to it, but then there are guys who will get off to anything. That's the whole premise behind rule 34.

She just looks like she's sad and could use some clothes, a blanket, and a cup of hot chocolate next to a fire and someone to talk to. To start calling this pornography is actually just kinda... weird to me. They're seeing pornographic intent with that picture? Does that mean that naked bodies, are by definition pornographic? Or just young children? I don't like what this whole case is implying...
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Re: Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby jestingrabbit » Tue May 27, 2008 2:25 pm UTC

My thoughts on this are complicated.

Firstly, its not porn. If you call that image (the one on the age article, the one that was on the invitation) porn, you could call anything porn. So its obviously not child porn either.

Then we look at the question of consent. Consider this almost completely anonymous and unverified comment on livejournal.

they wrote:Bill is a friend, my father shows at the same gallery.
This is ridiculous. I have to quote Martin Sharp, another friend and artist here. From smh.com.au:

Forty years ago, artist Martin Sharp was famously tried for obscenity because of a piece he wrote for Oz magazine. Last week he received an invitation to Henson's exhibition, which features a topless 13-year-old. "It was a powerful image. I would call it very beautiful in its vulnerability rather than 'revolting' as the Prime Minister has done," Sharp said. The photograph suggested the girl "gave her trust to Henson . . . and this trust has been violated by the police and Kevin Rudd's comments. It's like she has been put under arrest as well. In a symbolic way".

Friends of mine have posed for him. This is such media bullshit.
I get what people are saying, and their concerns, but, but, but. No.


So its quite possible that the models know Henson personally, and were more swayed by personal and familial connection than celebrity. Is that more or less acceptable? imo, we can't judge. These are very intimate images so the consent is going to be a very personal matter and something that we don't really have a lot of data on.

What I would say is that Henson has been demonised and there isn't much evidence for this demonisation. I've seen other stuff that he has done, and the images are about puberty and fragility and a moment that passes and is gone. There is sexuality in that moment because there is sexuality in puberty, but the work doesn't dwell on the sexuality, it dwells on the ephemeral moment of transition from child to adult. I wouldn't call the images innocent, but nor are they porn.
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Re: Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby Plasma Man » Tue May 27, 2008 3:25 pm UTC

This has happened before. In the UK in September last year, police seized a photo from an exhibition as they thought it might be pornographic (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7016651.stm), despite it having already been examined in 2001 (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/tyne/7063564.stm and deemed not to be indecent. I had also been exhibited around the world since 2002 without any complaints. In the end it was again ruled to be not indecent, but it was not exhibited and the exhibition it was in was cut short. So essentially it was a complete waste of time and money, and denied people a chance to see some art. I predict that the same thing will happen in this case.

On the art vs porn thing, I would say that the photo in question is more on the art side than the porn side - though the two are not mutually exclusive. Nudity is not the same as indecency or pornography, otherwise anyone who takes a photo of their baby having a bath is producing pornography. In this case, the genitals are not being focused on, they're being concealed quite modestly - another point against this being porn. The trouble with the indecency / obscenity laws is that it is very subjective - what one person thinks is indecent will be considered fine by another. I think that as it is so very subjective there should be a very high burden of proof to rule that an image is indecent.
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Re: Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby zenten » Tue May 27, 2008 4:45 pm UTC

Quixotess wrote:I don't know what I think of that picture. I can tell it's not intended to titillate, but really, if there's a famous photographer saying "come on, pose for me, don't you want to pose for me?" then even if she didn't really want to, I can see how she might have been pressured into it.


Lets suppose she was wearing a dress. Not a revealing dress or anything, a nice, normal dress.

Would you still have a problem with that picture?

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Re: Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby Quixotess » Tue May 27, 2008 5:24 pm UTC

Dream wrote:Sexual context is the issue, not consent. If these images are ruled to be sexual in nature, then that will set a very strong precedent that other, very similar images by the same artist are also illegal. Apparently the police are the arbiters of what constitutes sexual nature, and the artist has to prove otherwise. Innocent until proven guilty seems not to apply. And I don't want to end up in court over something I bought perfectly legally. I shouldn't have to defend myself in this regard. If being on a gallery wall isn't enough to ensure a soft approach by the police, being in a book certainly isn't.

It's not the issue. It's the context in which the issue becomes relevant. If a man rapes someone, and gets arrested, the sex is not the issue, it's the consent.

This child was photographed naked. Is the image pornographic? I don't think so, but maybe, maybe not. Either way, though, she had to be nude in order for him to take the photo, and that's a very delicate, private and vulnerable situation to be in. That's a situation we want to protect children from being in if they don't want to (adults aren't considered to need as much protection.)

Of course, if a court does decide it is a pornographic image, then consent is automatically considered not given. Just like in sex with a minor. Then the sex issue = the consent issue.

And you know you're exaggerating with "innocent until proven guilty." That's why we have court proceedings. Now that the charge has been brought up, he needs to be prosecuted. That is not a declaration of guilt. That's a declaration of "we need to look into this." Innocent until proven guilty is not incompatible with this.

"If he's convicted, I'll be in trouble" is not an argument against the law. It is an expression of the lunacy of the situation. If any activist can have the police shut down an art exhibition on it's opening night on their word alone, and have the police start talking about prosecution then that activist has far too much power.
I'm sorry, but I keep translating your words to a rape case in my head. "If any woman can have the police arrest an upstanding man of the community on her word alone, and have the police start talking about prosecution then that woman has far too much power." I don't think your statement is true. The activist brought it to the attention of the police, and now they need to look into it. There is nothing wrong with this.

Did the police wait, and involve some experts? No. Did the consult the artist? No. Did they even contact the child concerned? No. Instead they just took the images off the wall, and told everyone they were of a sexual nature.

Rape case in my mind again. Look, if there were naked images of me that I was ashamed of but too intimidated or unsure or unconfident to ask, hanging in a gallery somewhere, and someone went to the police to ask that they be taken down, I wouldn't want them to say "let's bring some more people in to look at this and see if they think it's objectionable." Their priority right now is to protect the child, not the man.

Final analogy: If this were a drugs offence, it would be like the police finding white powder in my flat, walking out the door and telling the world media that there was a kilo of cocaine there. Without even testing the stuff to see if they were right. When a bunch of chemists and drung dealers look at it and say, "that doesn't look like any cocaine I ever saw."
Bad analogy. Cocaine is definitely cocaine. Child porn is less clear. The police are probably saying "We're checking this stuff to see if it's porn or if there is a consent issue." A bunch of other people, including the prime minister, are saying "I think this is porn." And cocaine is not harmful to someone if other people look at it.

I'm not saying I think that this is porn, or that he's guilty. I'm just saying that it's better to look into these concerns than to dismiss them.
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Re: Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby Vaniver » Tue May 27, 2008 5:57 pm UTC

Dream wrote:I didn't mean that expensive = not porn.
Ok; one of your previous statements seemed to imply that.

Dream wrote:Apparently the police are the arbiters of what constitutes sexual nature, and the artist has to prove otherwise. Innocent until proven guilty seems not to apply.
Did they throw Henson into prison, or did they just impound evidence? Because one of those is standard procedure, and the other is guilty until proven innocent.

Dream, how would you like to see a suspected case of child pornography be resolved?
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Re: Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby EsotericWombat » Tue May 27, 2008 6:04 pm UTC

The state is trying this case in the media, and that is absolutely unacceptable.

These images can only be considered pornographic if nudity=pornography, which is not only patently absurd, but to the extent that some people believe it is a serious defect in our society.

And I'm wondering just how any of these models are being protected by the police publicly declaring them to have been depicted in porn, which carries a stigma.

This is a clusterfuck.
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Re: Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby Vaniver » Tue May 27, 2008 6:10 pm UTC

EsotericWombat wrote:The state is trying this case in the media, and that is absolutely unacceptable.
I'm not convinced. Someone was accused of having child pornography, the police went to the site, decided that 20 of the photos were suspicious enough that a prosecution was necessary.

The trial by media bit, as far as I can tell, is the people who think that being accused is the same as being convicted. No, this isn't a Caesar's wife scenario. Yes, people like Rudd will posture because that's what their constituents expect them to do- but the last time I checked, they don't decide court cases.
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Re: Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby EsotericWombat » Tue May 27, 2008 6:17 pm UTC

they don't decide court cases, but don't they appoint judges to higher courts?
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Re: Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby Vaniver » Tue May 27, 2008 7:14 pm UTC

EsotericWombat wrote:they don't decide court cases, but don't they appoint judges to higher courts?
Yes, but slowly changing the makeup of the judiciary to reflect your political opinions and settling a trial by media opinion seem so different that I'm not sure how we're discussing both at the same time.
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Re: Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby zenten » Tue May 27, 2008 7:15 pm UTC

EsotericWombat wrote:they don't decide court cases, but don't they appoint judges to higher courts?


I don't think it works that way in Australia.

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Re: Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby segmentation fault » Tue May 27, 2008 7:44 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:If they aren't, their parents should be- otherwise harmless baby pictures are legislated to be obscenities.


ive always said (as a joke) that diaper commercials are child porn.
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Re: Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby Robin S » Tue May 27, 2008 7:52 pm UTC

Quixotess wrote:If a man rapes someone, and gets arrested, the sex is not the issue, it's the consent.
If consent was the only issue, the punishment for rape should be the same as for petty theft. After all, as far as consent goes, both crimes have in common that consent was absent.
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Re: Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby Quixotess » Tue May 27, 2008 8:00 pm UTC

Er...no. This was the argument we were having on the abortion thread. Your body is not the same as your property. It should be more the same as aggravated assault.
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Re: Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby gmalivuk » Tue May 27, 2008 8:56 pm UTC

Quixotess wrote:It should be more the same as aggravated assault.

And yet, it's still not. There is a very clear distinction in every law code I'm aware of between sexual assault and aggravated assault without any sexual element.
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Re: Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby jestingrabbit » Tue May 27, 2008 10:20 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:
EsotericWombat wrote:The state is trying this case in the media, and that is absolutely unacceptable.
I'm not convinced. Someone was accused of having child pornography, the police went to the site, decided that 20 of the photos were suspicious enough that a prosecution was necessary.

The police don't get to decide that. After an offender is charged the police take their brief to the Director of Public Prosecutions and the holder of that office or their representatives make the decision of whether or not to prosecute. Henson hasn't been charged with anything at this time. There is no prosecution pending against him. Police are making enquiries. That's it. But there are people who have already decided that he's making child pornography, and the media is portraying him as such.

Learned opinion seems to be firmly against the possibility that a prosecution will be brought, or will be successful.

the abc wrote:New South Wales Law Society president Hugh Macon says the case against Henson could be very difficult to prove.

"The Crimes Act requires two things - an intention and an act," he said.

"The act is usually fairly easily established but if the intention is to produce a work of art and solely to produce a work of art, then I cannot see how a crime has been committed."


The issue is mens rea, and I doubt very much that there will be any charges brought against Henson because there was no intent.

The issue of consent is a moral one imo. I can imagine situations where it was immoral to produce these images, but equally I can imagine situations where it wasn't. We're just not in possession of the facts at this time.
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Re: Bill Henson to be charged with "child porn" offences

Postby Jauss » Wed May 28, 2008 2:41 am UTC

Quixotess wrote:
Dream wrote:"If he's convicted, I'll be in trouble" is not an argument against the law. It is an expression of the lunacy of the situation. If any activist can have the police shut down an art exhibition on it's opening night on their word alone, and have the police start talking about prosecution then that activist has far too much power.
I'm sorry, but I keep translating your words to a rape case in my head. "If any woman can have the police arrest an upstanding man of the community on her word alone, and have the police start talking about prosecution then that woman has far too much power." I don't think your statement is true. The activist brought it to the attention of the police, and now they need to look into it. There is nothing wrong with this.


Actually, I think that would translate more to "if a random dude can have the police arrest an upstanding man of the community for allegedly raping someone (who hasn't filed charges) on their word alone, and have the police start talking about prosecution then that random dude has far too much power."

Which, in that case, I would agree.
Last edited by Jauss on Wed May 28, 2008 7:56 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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