Evidence available to charge ‘Swirl Face’: group
A victim’s rights group is calling on police to pursue new charges against Christopher Neil, the ‘Swirl Face’ pedophile who returned to Canada last week after serving time in a Thai prison.
Authorities arrested Neil as he arrived at the Vancouver International Airport Friday, but he was released from custody yesterday on a number of conditions. The 37-year-old has been ordered not to communicate with anyone under the age of 16, own a computer, or visit schools or playgrounds.
But former Mountie Brian McConaghy, founding director of Ratanak International, says that’s not enough; he argues Neil should be charged for alleged offences committed in Cambodia, and says there’s plenty of evidence to prosecute him under Canada’s little-used sex tourism laws.
“Neil was charged and convicted of offences in Thailand. There’s more evidence, there’s plenty more activities we know about,” McConaghy said.
“The police community in Cambodia is aware of them, the NGO community is aware of them. The evidence is there, and so I very much hope this is not the end of the story.”
McConaghy points to a 2007 search by the RCMP of Neil’s storage locker and home in Maple Ridge, where he says photographic evidence was seized.
“Any time photographs of sex assault of minors are recovered, it’s key evidence. It’s vital.”
There is no indication yet from RCMP that they are pursuing charges against Neil, who is now staying at a Vancouver-area shelter.
McConaghy says men like Neil find power in hunting children in third-world countries, and often justify their behaviour as a favour to their victims.
“Because the children are starving, or they’re malnourished, or they’re poor or whatever, and in giving them some money and food they think they’re helping,” McConaghy said. “At least that’s what they tell us. [But] that’s absolutely not the case, it’s the worst form of exploitation imaginable.”
Neil gained notoriety in 2007 after police found videos depicting the sex offender with his face distorted in a swirl. His image was eventually unscrambled, sparking an international manhunt for his capture.
With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Lisa Rossington