2004/09/17 【Taiwan News】
The Taiwan High Court yesterday upheld the acquittal of a university professor who was indicted for circulating pictures of bestial acts on the Internet.
The ruling was a victory for Josephine Ho, an English professor at National Central University, who was originally acquitted of the charges by the Taipei District Court on June 25. The High Cour’s panel of judges stood by the district courts ruling, which said Ho’s introduction of Internet links to the pictures was likely to be part of her academic research on sexuality.
In the original case, prosecutors argued that the professor had violated Article 235 of the Criminal Law by posting on the NCU Sex-Pol Center’s Web site a hyperlink to a foreign Web site that showed detailed pictures of bestiality.
The district ruling also noted that Ho posted the link in a section of the NCU center’s Web site called erspective and discussionwhere information about sexuality was routinely posted for academic study. It was therefore hard to conclude that the photos constituted obscenity, in accordance with the Council of Grand Justices?Constitutional Interpretation No. 407, the ruling stated.
I hope every member of society treats the issue seriously and ponders the real meaning of this legal case, said Ho when answering reporters questions outside the courthouse yesterday morning.
Ho, also known as an avant-garde feminist, contended that judicial authorities abused the criminal article against indecency to suppress creativity and the discussion of controversial issues related to sexuality.
She was indicted last December on the charge of circulating indecent photos, in violation of the same article that prohibits the distribution, sale, and display of indecent prose, drawings and other pornographic works.
The indictment was brought after some educators and women’s groups accused the university professor of abusing academic freedom by posting the controversial photos on her academic Web site. The accusations sparked a debate over the fine line between pornography and academic research.
Ho was director of the Sex-Pol Center at the time. She asserted that because intercourse between human beings and animals in fact exists, it is therefore worth researching.