From The Australian:
DRAWINGS of The Simpsons characters engaging in sexual acts with one another have resulted in a Sydney man being convicted on child pornography charges.
In the NSW Supreme Court yesterday, judge Michael Adams upheld a decision to convict Alan John McEwan for possessing child pornography after determining that a fictional cartoon character could be considered to "depict a person" under state and commonwealth law.
Justice Adams ruled the word "person" included imaginary or fictional characters and that an unrealistic representation of a figure did not preclude that figure from being a "person".
McEwan was convicted of possessing child pornography and using his computer to access child pornography in February after his computer was found to contain pictures of Bart, Lisa and Maggie Simpson having sex with one another.
The male figures in the cartoons had what appeared to be human genitalia, the local court magistrate said at the time, as did other characters depicted in the cartoons. The magistrate told McEwan he would have been jailed had the images involved real children.
Instead, McEwan was fined $3000 and ordered to enter into a two-year good behaviour bond in respect of each charge.
McEwan appealed the decision, arguing that fictional cartoon characters could not be considered people as they "plainly and deliberately" departed from the human form.
But Justice Adams yesterday said the fact that the images did not realistically represent human beings did not mean the figures depicted could not be considered people.
"If the persons were real, such depictions could never be permitted," Justice Adams said in his judgment. "Their creation would constitute crimes at the very highest end of the criminal calendar."
He said while the primary purpose of the legislation was to stop sexual exploitation and child abuse of "real" children, it was also designed to deter the production of other material that could "fuel demand for material that does involve the abuse of children".
Justice Adams dismissed the appeal, ordering each party to pay its own costs on the grounds it was "the first case dealing with (this) difficult issue".
In the lead-up to last year's much-hyped The Simpsons Movie, much was made of the filmmakers' decision to show Bart Simpson's rather crudely drawn penis. The film's release did not lead to child pornography charges.
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