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Court Dismisses Pornographer’s Unique Plea

On August 4, 20047, 36-year-old Mark Rawlinson was found guilty in the Durban Regional Court on over 330 counts of possessing child pornography. It's considered that his 'the virus did it' defense is first of its kind in South Africa.

Moreover, a magistrate outrightly rejected all assertions blaming a computer virus for the transfer of over 1000 pictures of child porn onto the suspect's PC.

While pleading for his innocence, Rawlinson alleged that a cyberpunk dealing in diverse viruses was behind the transfer of the child porn site.

Throughout the September 2006 hearing, the court gathered proof from computer specialists. The cyber specialist from the technical support division, Sgt Susann Barnard, informed the court that out of the 65 pictures she had discovered in the "my pictures" folder, 34 were potential child pornography images. According to the September 12, 2006 edition of Daily News, out of the 1,415 photos Barnard had unearthed, 1,194 pictures portrayed nude kids.

She retrieved nearly 300 potential kid pornography pictures from the deleted files and 825 more from the temporary Internet files. Barnard also evidenced that Rawlinson had fixed anti-virus security system on his PC designed to obstruct any invasion from cyberpunks and viruses.

As per Daily News in September 2006 the chief of Pretoria's Technical Support Unit, Senior Superintendent Beau Grobler, had clarified the incidences and outcomes of these viruses. Technical computer testimony in child porn is considered as being progressive and very avant-garde, it was stated during the course of the trial.

However, later the lawsuit was assigned to Magistrate Trevor Levitt, who was aided by Ian Melamed, a cyber crime authority from Interpol and co-author of "My Doom to Cybercrime" for more satisfactory results.

Nevertheless, in its scrutiny of the technical proof, the court discovered that Rawlinson was the certified Internet consumer whose computer had received the downloaded child porn pictures and that, as per computer experts, "computer viruses are not to be charged for the download of the erotica", as per the September 5, 2007 issue of SUNDAYTIMES.co.za.

Related article: Court Acquits Student From Generating Fake Boarding Passes

» SPAMfighter News - 18-09-2007

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