There is an extraordinary case out of Queensland, Australia. Chris Illingworth, 61, is charged for merely copying and watching a viral video of a man swinging a baby. Prosecutors have charged that he distributed a child abuse video –even though the government itself rated the video as MA15+ (appropriate for anyone over 15). It is part of an ongoing trend in the West in rolling back on free speech rights.
The video itself is widely available and was part of a newsworthy story over criminal charges brought against Jamie Ian Thompson, 28. Thompson is shown swinging a one-year-old girl around by her leg after the girl’s mother left a video camera running in the lounge. He was spared jail by Leicester Crown Court, Judge Michael Stokes, QC, after he claimed to be suffering from post-traumatic stress associated with being the victim of two armed robberies. He served as a post office security guard., here
Illingworth, however, had no involvement in making the video and merely published it as part of a video-sharing site — after copying it from LiveLeak. The owner of LiveLeak has spoken out in Illingworth’s behalf, here. Police and prosecutors, however, secured charges that would put the father of four in jail for a maximum of 10 years for sharing the three-minute clip.
Queensland Police insist that any Australians who simply view the clip could face a maximum of 20 years in jail but say that they are reviewing this case.
In the Queensland Police brief of evidence, Susan Cadzow, specialist pediatrician at Royal Brisbane Children’s Hospital, said she thought the clip represented child abuse even though the child is shown laughing at the end of the video. It is clearly abusive and dangerous in my view, but that does not mean that it is a crime for bloggers and reporters to show the video. Indeed, the video went viral out of the widespread view that the man should be punished and served to pressure authorities for his eventual prosecution.
It is simply astonishing that various police officials, prosecutors, and experts joined in the effort to bring and fight for this case.
Warning: the video below has disturbing content.
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