Nfld. & Labrador

Lawyers argue rights violated in child sex doll case, ask for stay of charges

A sex doll trial in St. John's that has gotten national and international attention isn't likely to end soon.

WARNING: this story contains some graphic details.

Kenneth Harrisson was charged in March 2013 when a child sex doll was delivered to his house. (Glenn Payette/CBC)

A trial in St. John's for a man accused of importing a child sex doll isn't likely to end soon. 

The defence for Kenneth Harrisson has made an application to the provincial court of Newfoundland and Labrador to stay the proceedings, citing many violations of his Charter rights.

Harrisson, 52, was charged In March 2013 with possessing child pornography.

The police described the doll as a prepubescent female with accessories that could be used for sexual gratification. 

The box containing the child sex doll brought to Harrisson's home. (Glenn Payette/CBC)

Harrisson's lawyers, Bob Buckingham and Brittany Whalen, argue that Section 163.1(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada, which deals with child pornography, violates Harrisson's right to life, liberty and security of the person. 

In an application filed May 17, they say the section of the Code is so broad that it "interferes with [Harrisson's] personal autonomy as well as the physical and psychological integrity of pedophiles."

Lawyer Bob Buckingham says charges against his client Kenneth Harrisson should be stayed, which would end the prosecution for now. (Glenn Payette/CBC News)

They also say that the section violates Harrisson's rights because if he were to be found guilty he would be subjected to "cruel and unusual treatment or punishment."

The lawyers say the possible sentence of six months to two years less a day in prison would be "grossly disproportionate" to what would be appropriate in this case.

They also say the Code violates Harrisson's right "to freedom of expression because it prohibits expression that possesses social value and is linked to the value of self-fulfillment."

Because the application has not been heard in court yet, Buckingham and Whalen would not do an interview to explain or clarify the more complex aspects of the application.

Crown prosecutor Patricia Carpenter could not be reached for comment.

Harrisson was charged after the RNC performed a "controlled delivery" of a package containing the doll to his St. John's home.

Address of the Japanese company that allegedly sent the sex doll to Harrisson in St. John's. (Glenn Payette/CBC)

The box, addressed to Harrisson, had come from a company in Japan that was on the Canada Border Services watch list.

A expert for the crown, psychiatrist Dr. Peter Collins, has testified that he believes the doll is child porn.

Ultimately, it will be up to Judge Mark Pike to say if it is pornographic.

Pike also has to decide if he will hear the Charter application. If he does, then he'll have to decide if Harrisson's rights have been violated. 

The case is back in court on July 6. 

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.