Pepper and porn

Two recent Victorian police actions seem to cry out for Charter analysis. One is the use of capscicum spray at the Australian Open, which arguably is an unjustified breach of the rights of (at least) the uninvolved spectators to not be treated in a degrading way and to security. The question of remedies (especially damages) is much less clear.

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The other action that sparked my Charter interest is the arrest of everyone’s favourite teenage party animal on, of all things, producing child pornography. This is only interesting if the ‘child pornography’ is – as some suspect – mobile phone footage of consensual conduct with a person who is just under 16 (or appears to be) with the knowledge of all involved, i.e. a technical and trivial instance of child porn. If that’s the case, then the arrest reeks of ulterior motives, e.g. vengeance or stopping the lad from doing the media rounds, motives that arguably make his arrest arbitrary. There’s also an argument that criminalising harmless aspects of teenage sexuality (if that’s what this was) is a breach of freedom of expression, though that’s not a claim that is likely to go down well with the Victorian public!

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