Nfld. & Labrador

Is statue on St. John's restaurant child porn? Question from defence at sex doll trial

A statue on a restaurant in downtown St. John's was singled out at the Kenneth Harrisson sex doll trial in St. John's on Thursday, with questions about whether it can be considered child porn.

Warning: Story contains explicit details that may be disturbing to some readers

An expert on child porn was asked about the statue on Bier Markt in St. John's. (Glenn Payette/CBC News)

A statue on a restaurant in downtown St. John's was singled out at the trial of Kenneth Harrisson in St. John's on Thursday, with questions about whether the figure would be considered pornographic.

Harrisson, 52, was charged with possessing child pornography after a sex doll was shipped to his address that the Crown says depicts a child.

An expert witness was shown a picture of a naked boy holding onto his penis. Harrisson's lawyer, Bob Buckingham, asked forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Peter Collins, if he knew what it was. 

Collins replied, "It's the Manneken Pis." 

The Manneken Pis is a landmark small bronze sculpure in Brussels, Belgium and a replica is located on the exterior of Bier Markt on Harbour Drive in St. John's.

Kenneth Harrisson, 52, is accused of having child pornography because of a sex doll shipped to him four years ago. (Glenn Payette/CBC News)

"The picture was taken here in St. John's," Buckingham told Collins. "Does this constitute child porn?"

"No, it's an artistic depiction of a child. Likely not designed for a sexual purpose," Collins replied.

Collins has testified that a sex doll shipped to Harrission at his address in St. John's in 2013 is child pornography. 

Buckingham asked if he took a picture of the statue and put it into a file full of child porn, would it then become child porn?

"It may not," replied Collins. "It comes down to artistic merit."

Dr. Peter Collins says what constitutes child porn can depend on how it is intended to be used. (Glenn Payette/CBC News)

Collins said you also have to look at the purpose of an object or how it is meant to be used.

"If it doesn't come with arms and legs that move, washable genitals, and children's clothing, it may not be child porn," he said.

"What if it was outside a club that appeals to pedophiles?" asked Buckingham.

Collins replied, "I don't know."

"You are the expert," said Buckingham.

"I may be an expert on child porn and child sex crimes, but I'm not an expert on everything," said Collins.

Harrisson's lawyer, Bob Buckingham, is questioning whether a child sex doll is really child porn. (Glenn Payette/CBC News)

Collins has seen pictures of the child sex doll shipped to Harrisson from a company in Japan.

"You said what makes it child sex porn is because of the vaginal opening," said Buckingham, asking whether it would still be child porn if the opening was removed.

"Depends on how it would be used," said Collins. "It comes down to content and how it's viewed."

"You said anyone who orders from that website is a pedophile," said Buckingham. "Yet you did no assessment of him [Harrisson].

Collins admitted he didn't, but then quoted from his report: "It's not uncommon for individuals, who are sexually attracted to children, to use images or surrogates to fuel their fantasies. Also used are sex dolls."

The trial continues Friday.

About the Author

Glenn Payette

Videojournalist

A veteran journalist with more than 30 years' experience, Glenn Payette is a videojournalist with CBC News in St. John's.