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Norwegian Supreme Court Cuts the Knot in Child-Like Sex Doll Case

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As previous cases involving sex dolls have all resulted in different verdicts, the Norwegian apex court's decision has been called a milestone and an important precedent to stifle the import and possession of child-like dolls.

Norway's Supreme Court has ruled that a child-like sex doll a man ordered over the internet that had the anatomy and proportions as a child was shaped for sexual purposes and thus constituted the sexualisation of children, a criminal offence, national broadcaster NRK reported.

The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal of a 45-year-old man from Finnmark County, who was sentenced by a lower-instance court to 60 days' suspended sentence and a fine of NOK 10,000 ($1,120) for attempting to import a 1-metre-tall Japanese sex doll in 2016.

After seeing the doll with its own eyes during a courtroom presentation, a unanimous Supreme Court concluded that sex dolls representing minors are covered by the Penal Code's ban on sexualised depictions of children. The verdict described the doll as “having the anatomy and the proportions of a child” and stressed it was specifically designed for sexual purposes.

“It has a face with child-like features”, judge Cecilie Østensen Berglund argued, stressing that the doll looks like a child “far below 18”.

Justice and Immigration Minister Jøran Kallmyr of the Progress Party argued that the verdict is a milestone in the fight against child and adolescent abuse.

“I am pleased that the Supreme Court has ruled that the import of child-size sex dolls is illegal. This is an important judgment, where it is has been established that such dolls are affected by the Penal Code's ban on depictions that sexualise children”, Kallmyr said.

“We are very pleased with the decision. In addition, we think it is a good one, because it can also be used in the future. It may also include new ways of depicting child abuse” Hugo Henstein, Attorney General of Troms and Finnmark, said.

By contrast, defence lawyer John Christian Elden complained that the verdict “neither clarified the height nor the physique” for what is punishable, rather focusing on child-like facial features.

“Sex dolls are still a legal product, but not the ones that resemble children”, Elden concluded.

Several cases involving sex dolls have been tried in recent years, but the penalties have been all different, ranging between several months in prison and fines.

The State Attorney thinks the verdict is so clear that it also applies to new and other forms of child sexualisation.

In 2016, the police alarm went off after the Customs Administration seized a total of 21 child-like sex dolls, some of them about one metre tall and dressed in children's clothes. The customs personnel reacted strongly, claiming the find made them feel “unwell”.

​The issue of sex dolls has previously triggered a lively ethics discussion in Norway. While some, including the country's police chief claimed that they enable child abuse, others, such as psychologist Pål Grøndahl advocated that sex dolls mimicking children may become a prescription drug for paedophiles to “vent” their desire, in combination with extensive therapy.

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