Monday, December 08, 2008

Australia: Where communication is a crime.

It seems that the Labor Party hates free speech. In Victoria, they passed draconian anti-free speech laws otherwise known as the Racial and Religious Vilification Act. Then at a federal level, they want to censor all pornography and profanity and force every ISP to implement filtering.

And in Queensland, police raided the home of a 60 year old man who had re-uploaded video footage of a baby being shaken by a man, which ends with the baby laughing and seemingly unharmed.

Chris Illingworth, 60, a father of four from Maroochydore, thought he would share it with fellow users of Liveleak, a site similar to YouTube but focused on news and current events. In two years, he has uploaded hundreds of videos to Liveleak.

His home was raided on Sunday, November 30, by Queensland Police from Task Force Argos, which specialises in combating child pornography and child groomers.

He was charged with accessing, downloading and uploading child-abuse material with the intent to distribute and is scheduled to appear in court in Maroochydore on December 18.

It is understood that he had no involvement in the creation of the video, which cannot be published on this website for legal reasons.

The baby is laughing and smiling at the end of the clip, but the video has attracted criticism from child-welfare advocates because of how vigorously the man swings the baby by its arms.

In a phone interview, Illingworth described the clip as a "common interest story" and rejected any suggestions he was a child abuser or interested in such material.

He said that since being charged he could not eat, sleep or work and was worried his children and people in the local community would think he was a pedophile.

"I've had to go down to the hospital, my blood pressure is 160/108 and I'm on blood pressure pills and valium - all because of this," he said.

"Do they realise what pain they put someone through? I could fall over dead over this. I can't even get the office work done. I'm just a zombie."

Queensland Police refused to comment, saying it would be inappropriate as the matter was before the courts.

Illingworth said his life changed the moment two officers - a detective chief inspector and a detective chief constable - banged on his door and demanded they search his house.

"I went to turn on the laptop and they got stinking mad, as if I was trying to delete something I guess, and I was just trying to be helpful," he said.

The officers plugged a small black box into his computer and proceeded for an hour and a half to analyse the contents of his hard drive in a search for child pornography.

Thanks to laws like these, we are all soon-to-be-criminals now.