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Prosecution Drops Charges in Canadian Manga Child Porn Case (Updated)

posted on 2012-03-15 12:32 EDT
Minnesota man agrees to plead to non-criminal code regulatory offense

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) announced on Thursday that the Canadian government has withdrawn all charges against Ryan Matheson, a 27-year-old software engineer from Minnesota who was accused of child pornography charges for bringing manga on his computer into Canada. The CBLDF revealed that the legal costs in the case totaled more than US$75,000. According to the CBLDF's press release, 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."

The CBLDF had reported that Matheson was flying into Canada in Apirl 2010 to visit his friend when the Canadian customs at Ottawa International Airport searched his belongings. A customs officer found images on the man's laptop computer and characterized them as child pornography.

Matheson had been charged with both possessing and importing child pornography. Canadian law dictates a minimum prison sentence of one year (and a maximum of 10 years) for an indictment and conviction on a child pornography importing charge. A summary conviction without indictment or trial would carry a sentence of 90 days to 18 months.

The CBLDF reported that during the two-year time period after Matheson was accused of possessing and importing child pornography, he could not use computers or access the Internet outside of his job. The CBLDF has posted two Charter Notices fild by Matheson's defense attorneys Michael Edelson and Solomon Friedman. The website has also posted a personal statement from Matheson, in which Matheson details his experience during the original customs investigation and his ordeal throughout his arrest.

Edelson said in the CBLDF's press release that Matheson "will have no criminal record, [and] his name will not appear on the Sex Offender Registry in Canada, or elsewhere."

The CBLDF noted in its press release that it is seeking funds to help pay off Matheson's remaining US$45,000 debt for the trial.

Update: Press release link added.

Update 2: More information, links to charter notices and Matheson's personal statement added.


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