The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and the Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund are pleased to announce that the
Crown has withdrawn all criminal charges in R. v. Matheson, the case previously described as the Brandon X case, which involved a comic book reader who faced criminal charges in Canada relating to comic books on his computer. The defendant, Ryan
Matheson, a 27-year-old comic book reader, amateur artist, and computer programmer has been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing.
After a search of his laptop in 2010, Matheson was wrongfully accused of possessing and importing child pornography because of constitutionally protected comic book images on that device. He was subjected to abusive treatment by police and a disruption
in his life that included a two-year period during which he was unable to use computers or the internet outside of his job, severely limiting opportunities to advance his employment and education.
Matheson has agreed to plead to a non-criminal code regulatory offense under the Customs Act of Canada. As a result of the agreement, Matheson will not stand trial.
Although the outcome of this case is ultimately positive, comic book readers should be aware that there are still dangers for traveling with comics in Canada. Michael Edelson, who managed the defense said:
Aside from the very positive outcome to this story, your members should be cautioned concerning the search and seizure regime here in Canada exercised by the Canadian Border Services Agency. Moreover, they should also be aware that although anime and
manga is legal in many areas of the United States and Japan, etc., to possess and utilize, the Canadian authorities may take a different view if this material is found on any laptops or mobile devices when you enter the country.
Edelson’s firm has created a new advisory on traveling with comics and manga in Canada that is available here:
CBLDF – Legal Memorandum – Canada Issues . The CBLDF’s previous advisory, which addresses the issues of traveling with comics through international borders is located here:
CBLDF Advisory – Comic Book Art at Intl Borders
cbldf.org today to make a donation in support of paying off Ryan's legal defense and creating new tools to combat abuses like this from happening in the future. You can also support this effort by becoming a member of the CBLDF. Every contribution
helps CBLDF get Ryan back on his feet, and furthers our efforts to protect the First Amendment rights of comics and manga.