The Canadian court system is hearing a case that has the power to set new precedents in terms of child pornography charges. A Canadian man went to trial for child pornography charges after purchasing a sex doll that resembled a kid. This is believed to the first trial in Canadian history. 

During closing arguments on Tuesday, May 7, 2019, 54-year-old Kenneth Harrisson from Newfoundland faced charges of possessing child pornography, mailing obscene matter, and two charges under the federal Customs Act of smuggling and possession of prohibited goods. The charges stemmed from Harrisson purchasing a sex doll online that was designed to resemble a child. 

During the trial, Crown questioned Harrisson and his claim that he did not order the doll for the purpose of having sex with it. Harrisson had allegedly purchased the doll from the Japanese website as companionship to replace his infant son that had died. 

The doll was ordered in 2013 from Japan but was intercepted on its way to his house in St. John’s. While Harrisson admitted to searching into Google the term “sex doll,” he chose the doll because it had the most "male looking face" to resemble his son and “life-like qualities.”

The prosecution team argued the website where he purchased the doll was known for making dolls that resembled children, and those products fall under the definition of child pornography. 

Under Canada’s Criminal Code, child pornography is defined as a photo, film, video, or other visual representation, “whether or not it was made by electronic or mechanical means” that shows a person under 18-years-old engaging in explicit sexual activity. 

While this may be the first trial, the seizure or interception of child-like sex dolls is far from uncommon. According to Huffington Post, Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Const. Terry Follett stated that in the six years since Harrisson was originally charged, police in BC, New Brunswick, and Ontario have intercepted a number of similar items. 

Follett is not wrong in believing things have gotten worse. According to Canadian border officials, 42 lifelike dolls have been intercepted in less than 2 years. These sex dolls were taken between January 2016 and August 2018. 

According to CBC, these dolls had “child-like dimensions and features” and were seized as illegal child pornography. Officials in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Toronto, Hamilton, and Quebec have all come across these child-like sex dolls. 

In records obtained by CBC, detail was given on why the dolls were intercepted. The documents state that the sex dolls were classified as child pornography due to their bodies resembling children including pre-pubescent girls with small or underdeveloped breasts. 

Monique St. Germain, a lawyer for the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, told CBC that acting out a sexual fantasy on a realistic doll has a “disinhibiting effect.” She claims this could lead someone to prey on a child in real life. 

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