a certain brand of escape (atelierlune) wrote in aramatheydidnt,
a certain brand of escape
atelierlune
aramatheydidnt

Criminal Charges Dropped in Canada Customs Manga Case

"The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and the Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund are pleased to announce that the Crown has withdrawn all criminal charges in R. v. Matheson, the case previously described as the “Brandon X case,” which involved a comic book reader who faced criminal charges in Canada relating to comic books on his computer. The defendant, Ryan Matheson, a 27-year-old comic book reader, amateur artist, and computer programmer has been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing.


"After a search of his laptop in 2010, Matheson was wrongfully accused of possessing and importing child pornography because of constitutionally protected comic book images on that device. He was subjected to abusive treatment by police and a disruption in his life that included a two-year period during which he was unable to use computers or the internet outside of his job, severely limiting opportunities to advance his employment and education. Mr. Matheson has agreed to plead to a non-criminal code regulatory offense under the Customs Act of Canada. As a result of the agreement, Matheson will not stand trial...

"He had his right to counsel and Vienna Convention consular rights violated when he was detained without being properly informed of the reason for detention. He was not granted access to counsel, or to the American Embassy. The Application asserts that Customs officers acted as agents for police and conducted an illegal search of his property. Matheson was also the subject of cruel and unusual punishment, including being denied food and blankets. Matheson was even told by police transporting him to prison that “if you get raped in here, it doesn't count!” The defense detailed these and other abuses and outlined that the comics at issue are constitutionally protected in the United States, the client's home country. The comics possess artistic merit and are widely available in Canada, Japan and the United States...

"Although the outcome of this case is ultimately positive, comic book readers should be aware that there are still dangers for traveling with comics in Canada. [Michael] Edelson [manager of the defense] says, “Aside from the very positive outcome to this story, your members [this was directed to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund] should be cautioned concerning the search and seizure regime here in Canada exercised by the Canadian Border Services Agency. Moreover, they should also be aware that although anime and manga is legal in many areas of the United States and Japan, etc., to possess and utilize, the Canadian authorities may take a different view if this material is found on any laptops or mobile devices when you enter the country..."

"Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund board member Leonard Wong said, “We're glad this is over for Ryan and want to thank him and his attorneys for their willingness to stand up to our government in this matter. We're also pleased that the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund was able to assist the defense financially and substantively, and are creating new tools to help prevent these kinds of cases in the future. Unfortunately, this could easily happen again, so we continue our stride to establish the CLLDF as a more active ongoing concern. Our immediate focus will now shift towards raising funds and preparing for any future attacks on comics in Canada.”

You can visit the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund website here for more information, advise on traveling with anime/manga in Canada, and to make donations to help defray the legal costs of this and other cases.

The notice about the arrest had been posted here, so I thought it would be worthwhile to post the result, even though it ended up being more of an issue of the abuse of police powers than of manga.


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Tags: manga, police
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