MONTREAL - The jury hearing the trial of a Quebec special-effects artist charged with corrupting morals have had a chance to see his handiwork.
The seven-woman, five-man jury watched in silence as hundreds of photos and a pair of videos that depict gruesome murders, torture, assaults and necrophilia with female victims.
Remy Couture is charged with corrupting morals through the distribution, possession and production of obscene materials in a case that explores the boundaries of artistic expression.
The jury is tasked with deciding if the material in question is obscene and dangerous and could actually incite anyone to act out what they see, as the Crown contends.
Couture argues that his work has artistic value and the state's interference amounts to an infringement of his right to free expression.
The jury has asked that the court speed up the process of viewing the photos. The judge has approved the request. The photos were originally being shown for about 10 seconds each, but were later switched roughly every five.
The images appeared on a website Couture hosted, dubbed "Inner Depravity." The violent, sexually explicit, horror-inspired works were based on a serial-killer character Couture created and played.
There was some contention over whether the site offered a viewer warning.
The Crown and Montreal police contend they didn't find any sort of warning while examining the contents of Couture's website, "Inner Depravity."
But the defence introduced its own evidence showing there was a warning — one that clearly stated that there was graphic content on the site, that no one was harmed in the creation of the work, and that the site is dedicated to horror and special effects.
The videos in question also have credits at the end identifying the various people taking part in the production of the short films, including the actresses portrayed as victims.
The court has heard that Interpol was first alerted to the images and videos in 2006 by an Internet user in Austria and the scenes were deemed so realistic that a pathologist in Europe couldn't rule out that a homicide had actually been committed.
Couture was arrested in 2009. His trial got under way Monday with jury selection and two weeks have been set aside to hear evidence.
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