10 September 2009
Child Abuse -- The Baby Swinging Video Charges Dropped...
Finally, common sense has prevailed in this case and the charges have been dropped. This case was a loser from the outset and should never have been brought by the police. It was a case of over-zealousness on the part of the police or maybe even a not so subtle attempt to try and judicially broaden the scope of the relevant legislation. In any event, it failed and rightly so.
I have written about this case on three separate occasions and you can find those posts here.
The Office of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) has dropped the charges. The realization that if this went to a jury trial that they would be very unlikely to succeed in convincing a jury of Christopher Illingworth's peers that he was guilty of distributing child abuse material has prevailed.
The video was posted on Liveleak and showed a man swinging a baby. The man and the baby remain pretty much unknown. However, the video is purportedly of either a Russian or Ukrainian circus family doing a little bit of training. At the end of the video the baby is smiling and laughing.
What was even more bizarre was that the Australian Film Classification Board classified this as MA15+ which would suggest that they were not convinced that the material was of a standard that would see it become a criminal offense under the provisions for child abuse material. Ultimately, the classification sealed the deal for Illingworth. There was simply no way that a jury would have been convinced that he had broken the law.
This ends the criminal saga however it is unclear whether Illingworth has any recourse for the trauma he has suffered as a result of his home being raided by the police, his arrest, and subsequent committal for trial.