Charges waylaid

If a person has committed numerous crimes, serving time for one of the crimes should not cover all other offences they have committed. But this seems to be the way the case concerning Canadian pedophile Christopher Paul Neil is being handled now that he is back on Canadian soil.

Neil was arrested in Thailand in October 2007 for sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy and his nine-year-old brother after a swirled image of his face in over 200 photos posted on the Internet of him sexually abusing boys was deciphered by German computer experts, sending Interpol on a manhunt. Neil fled his job teaching English in South Korea for Thailand where he was arrested, charged and kept in a Thai prison for five years.

When Neil entered the Vancouver airport on September 28, he was again arrested as RCMP considered him a risk to the public. His court hearing on October 1 to determine the conditions of his return to Canada was postponed for two days, but an RCMP spokesman had said previously they had no plans to recommend Neil be charged on counts of sex-tourism because he had already served a five-year sentence in Thailand for the same thing. However, Neil is accused of at least 12 counts of sexually abusing boys in both Cambodia and Vietnam in addition to the Thai charges he did prison time for. There is a warrant for his arrest in Cambodia.

T M Hoy, an American who spent five years in a Thai prison before being transferred to an American prison, writes in his blog that “a US State Department study found that every year spent in a Thai prison is equivalent (in damage done to body and mind) to five years in a standard US prison,” but that he also found the Thai prison far less violent than American prison as it’s not so centred on domination and control.

Hoy spent time in prison for failing to report a murder and his insights are interesting in pointing out some of the differences in prison structure in different cultures. But regardless if Thai prison is a little tougher on the body and mind than western lockups, it should not be a factor in Neil’s release in Canada. He didn’t even complete his full sentence in Thailand, which was supposed to be three years (originally six but cut in half because he pleaded guilty) with an additional six years for molesting the second boy, plus a fine of $1780.

Not completing a full prison sentence is a pretty standard procedure in Canada too, but this man destroyed the lives of young boys and men and exploited them even further by posting images of the abuse online for anyone to see. He has not been charged for the crimes he committed in Cambodia and Vietnam and no amount of time in a Thai prison should nullify those acts.

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