SHARPE’S PERVERSE AESTHETIC

Shannon Bell

Abstract


Robin Sharpe1 was charged with possession of child pornography under section 163.1 of the Criminal Code.2 He argued that the section violated his freedom of expression under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.3 The Supreme Court of Canada found that the provision prohibited the possession of visual representations that a reasonable person would view as depictions of explicit sexual activity with a person under the age of eighteen. The Court found that the sexual nature of the representations must be determined objectively. That is, it must be the “dominant characteristic.”4 In addition, the Court found that the section prohibited possession of written or visual materials that actively induce or encourage sexual acts with children.5


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