Canadian found guilty of child abuse

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A Canadian man has been convicted for abusing a teenage boy in Thailand.

Christopher Neil, a 32-year-old schoolteacher, was sentenced to three years and three months in prison and fined 60,000 baht (£954).

Mr Neil was arrested by Royal Thai police in Nakhon Ratchasima in northeast Thailand on 19th October 2007, after an internet image was unscrambled using digital technology.

The arrest followed what INTERPOL described as ‘an unprecedented global public appeal’ was launched on 8th October to identify the man in the internet image.

Hundreds of photos allegedly showing Mr Neil committing child abuse were uncovered.

He received half of the sentence he may have faced as he pleaded guilty to the charges when he appeared in court on 12th May.

His only comment when the sentence was passed was ‘OK’, and will not be appealing against the sentence.

Mr Neil faces further similar charges relating to the 13-year-old victim’s younger brother.

He denies the alleged offence against the nine-year-old, for which he will be tried in October.

If found guilty of the second offence, Mr Neil will face up to 20 years imprisonment.

Of the appeal to identify and arrest Mr Neil, INTERPOL’s Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said:

‘This is but one example of how co-operation between INTERPOL, its police partners in 186 member countries and the public can work together to bring international criminals to justice.

‘[Mr Neil’s] arrest sends a clear message to those men who think they can travel to Southeast Asia to abuse innocent children.

‘There is no longer any such place as a safe haven for paedophiles; there is no such thing as anonymity; and there is no escape.’