• Thu
  • Jul 31, 2014
  • Updated: 4:47am

Magistrate clears magazine of wet T-shirt child porn charge

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 April, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 April, 2007, 12:00am

Easy Finder magazine was acquitted yesterday of publishing child pornography when it ran pictures of a young pop singer in a wet T-shirt.


Kwun Tong Magistrate Gary Lam Kar-yan conceded that one of the four pictures of Renee Lee Wan, published last June when she was 14, did suggest the outline and shape of her left breast and nipple.


However, he acknowledged that all parties, including her mother, her agent and her wardrobe artist, agreed the girl was wearing an 'invisible' silicon self-adhesive bra, more than 1cm thick and flesh-coloured, under her white camisole.


This 'nude' bra meant it was almost impossible to reveal her chest, Mr Lam said, adding that he was not convinced the pictures amounted to a sexual depiction of her breast.


He said he must give the benefit of doubt to the defendants - publisher Easy Finder, chief editor Yuen Choi-yuk and the Paramount Printing Company. He therefore acquitted them.


All three parties had earlier pleaded not guilty to publishing child pornography without lawful excuse.


The defendants were also awarded costs after government prosecutor Agnes Chan Wing-han agreed to be billed.


Ms Chan said the Department of Justice would have to study the judgment before deciding whether to proceed with an appeal.


The magistrate noted that he did not see anything sexual in the process of taking the pictures or that the person involved in the article had any sexual intention.


He described the choice of skimpy clothes 'as a matter of taste and fashion sense', but he did question the motive of deliberately spraying the girl's T-shirt to make it wet.


He said it was a matter of editorial judgment whether there was a better way to represent the singer.


'There is no doubt that it raises a few eyebrows and ethical debate,' Mr Lam said, adding that these issues were still debatable.


The director of Against Child Abuse, Priscilla Lui Tsang Sun-kai, criticised the law, saying the scope of pornographic depiction under the Protection of Child Pornography Ordinance was too narrow.


Under the law, offenders must be found guilty if they have depicted an underaged person engaging in explicit sexual conduct or depicted, in a sexual manner or context, the genitals or anal region of a person or the breast of a female.


Ms Lui suggested that if the material involved children, with an underlining inference or implication of sexual assault, it should amount to a criminal offence.


Leung Tin-wai, head of the journalism department at Shue Yan College, warned that editors should exercise better editorial judgment.


The veteran journalist, who has previously held top editorial positions at Next Magazine, also questioned whether it was necessary to create the wet T-shirt look to depict sexiness.


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