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William Paul Bellew gets his conviction downgraded to a slap on the wrist

By johnboy - 19 August 2010 52

The ABC informs us that William Paul Bellew, 54, a convicted enthusiast of Simpsons themed child pornography, has had his sentence of a year’s weekend detention downgraded to a six month suspended sentence and a 12 month good behaviour bond.

Sound fair to you?

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52 Responses to
William Paul Bellew gets his conviction downgraded to a slap on the wrist
Thumper 1:33 pm 19 Aug 10

So, let me see if i’ve got this right, Bill Hensen is free to photograph whatever he wants and this guy goes down for drawing cartoons?

colourful sydney rac 1:26 pm 19 Aug 10

S4anta said :

Perhaps his picture of Bart wasn’t the porblem, but his picture of Snake was the issue…

Or more likely it was of Chief Wiggum.

colourful sydney rac 1:25 pm 19 Aug 10

p1 said :

colourful sydney racing identity said :

What amazes me is that the police/dpp didn’t use discretion/common sense.

Maybe they did, and he is a creepy pervert who deserved to be locked up.

Yeah maybe, but surely if he is there is something more to lock him up on?

Bosworth 1:10 pm 19 Aug 10

A victimless ‘crime’.

Skidbladnir 1:09 pm 19 Aug 10

colourful sydney racing identity said :

Was he really given 12 months weekend detention for drawing pictures of Simpsons characters having sex? Really? If so that is completely over the top. Where is the victim?

Crimes ACT 1900 Sect 65:
Possessing child pornography
(1) A person commits an offence if—
(a) the person intentionally possesses pornography; and
(b) the pornography is child pornography. [as defined in Section 64 (5)]
Maximum penalty: 500 penalty units, imprisonment for 5 years or both.

Section 64 (5):
In this section
“child pornography” means anything that represents(*)—
(a) the sexual parts of a child; or
(b) a child engaged in an activity of a sexual nature; or
(c) someone else engaged in an activity of a sexual nature in the presence of a child;
substantially for the sexual arousal or sexual gratification of someone other than the child.
(*) : represent means depict or otherwise represent on or in a film, photograph, drawing, audiotape, videotape, computer game, the internet or anything else.

No victim is required.
You can fall foul of our child pornography laws without ever seeing flesh.
Then again, you can be a convicted child sex offender and film children without clothes on so long as the resulting footage is so blurry as to fail a representation test.
So, what constitutes a representation of substance for sexual arousal?
It would also depend on the judge.
In the linked case of John Desmond Thompson, Chief Justice Terence Higgins found that the excessive blur prevented the footage from actually representing any sexual parts, so even if they aroused the previously convicted child sex offender John Desmond Thompson, his arousal was deemed irrelevant and so the judgement relied on picture clarity.

William Paul Bellew on the other hand, in having his case tried before Magistrate Grant Lalor, should have known the images were of sexual parts or activities, and in creating something of a sexual nature with a representation of a (fictional) child in it, fell foul of Section 64 (5), because even though he claimed they did not arouse him personally, they were sufficiently clear to form a representation that it would arouse a hypothetical paedophile.

Lesson for paedophiles:
Hire an argumentative lawyer, and either get lucky on Justice selection so that you get Higgins, or make sure you use digital compression so lossy that you can rely on Justice Higgins’ decision as precedent.

Compare the case of Bellew to that of Thompson (who both were tried using the Section 64 (5) definition) and you get a picture of a terribly inconsistent ACT legal system.

Aurelius 1:01 pm 19 Aug 10

The police in this matter are doing an appalling job.
By pursuing someone for something that might be technically illegal, but absurdly harmless, they show the public that the issue of child pornography isn’t a terribly serious one at all. Or, it shows us that when they charge someone with child poornography offences, it’s possible all they’d done was draw some pictures.
How many times have we discussed in this forum the idea that police using their powers inappropriately dilutes respect for the police? This is not helping their cause.

S4anta 12:50 pm 19 Aug 10

Perhaps his picture of Bart wasn’t the porblem, but his picture of Snake was the issue…

dtc 12:44 pm 19 Aug 10

colourful sydney racing identity said :

What amazes me is that the police/dpp didn’t use discretion/common sense.

So who is going to be the person that says ‘well, it does come within the child pornorgraphy law as drafted, but we all know that child pornography isnt a very sensitive subject so I will make a decision as a public servant not to enforce the law’

(although, I agree with you). Still, the law is the law and neither courts nor the DPP have the right not to follow the law just cos its stupid at times.

p1 12:36 pm 19 Aug 10

colourful sydney racing identity said :

What amazes me is that the police/dpp didn’t use discretion/common sense.

Maybe they did, and he is a creepy pervert who deserved to be locked up.

colourful sydney rac 12:27 pm 19 Aug 10

p1 said :

colourful sydney racing identity said :

Was he really given 12 months weekend detention for drawing pictures of Simpsons characters having sex? Really? If so that is completely over the top. Where is the victim?

While I understand where these laws come from (you try writing a law which distinguishes between a sketch of bart, and a life-like photo shop image that appears to depict a human child in the same way), this appears to be one of those cases where the court should have been able to exercise some judgement. You know, like their job title implies. But I guess that is why we have appeals.

I find it hard to believe that there is many people out their who thought this guy needed to be locked up for longer then people get for stabbing someone in the ACT.

What amazes me is that the police/dpp didn’t use discretion/common sense.

p1 12:07 pm 19 Aug 10

colourful sydney racing identity said :

Was he really given 12 months weekend detention for drawing pictures of Simpsons characters having sex? Really? If so that is completely over the top. Where is the victim?

While I understand where these laws come from (you try writing a law which distinguishes between a sketch of bart, and a life-like photo shop image that appears to depict a human child in the same way), this appears to be one of those cases where the court should have been able to exercise some judgement. You know, like their job title implies. But I guess that is why we have appeals.

I find it hard to believe that there is many people out their who thought this guy needed to be locked up for longer then people get for stabbing someone in the ACT.

colourful sydney rac 11:53 am 19 Aug 10

Was he really given 12 months weekend detention for drawing pictures of Simpsons characters having sex? Really? If so that is completely over the top. Where is the victim?

Thinking back to the things people used to draw at school this doesn’t seem worthy of even a court appearance – surely there is something more to it than that????

Me no fry 11:48 am 19 Aug 10

Years ago, at work someone (the office joke-sender, you know the type of guy) sent me via email a cartoon depicting Bart Simpson and the Teri/Sheri twins doing…. well, you can imagine.

I thought it was a bit childish, a bit funny, but basically harmless. The funny bit was basically seeing Bart doing something you’d never see him doing on TV – you know, completely out of context. I deleted the email. So, who goes to jail, me (for viewing it), the guy who sent it (for passing it on), or the guy that originally drew the cartoon (whoever he was)?

rookstar81 11:28 am 19 Aug 10

I’m not sure if i understand this properly… the guy draws pictures and he goes to weekend detention for that? for cartoons? are you kidding me?? there are no victims here…

obviously he isn’t the full six pack but can u tell me who he has hurt here?….

Rollersk8r 11:26 am 19 Aug 10

If I’m understanding correctly the guy’s guilty of drawing stupid pictures – basically the kind of thing you’d expect to see on the back of a toilet door? Seems completely over the top to be charged, named and shamed.

Back when I was at uni in the 90s people would find modified cartoons on the internet and email it around for a laugh. At best it was a joke and at worst was mildly offensive but it was hardly what I’d call illegal.

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