German child pornography trial suspended | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 15.09.2010
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German child pornography trial suspended

Nine German men stand accused of setting up an online community to exchange pornographic images of children. However, the headline-grabbing trial was halted before it could really begin.

Man at computer with blurred image of person on screen

The nine men are accused of sharing illicit photos and videos online

The trial of nine men accused of forming a child porn ring was postponed on the first day in court Wednesday.

The local criminal court in the central German city of Darmstadt decided to postpone the trial until September 30, after a defense lawyer accused one of the public assessors of the case of being biased against the defendants.

In the German judicial system, judges hearing trials at a regional state level are often assisted by two members of the public who sit on the bench with the judge and help in assessing the evidence.

The defense accused one of the assessors of having been overheard making prejudiced remarks about the defendants before the trial.

Judges uninvolved with the case ordered the assessor to be dismissed.

Criminal organization

Police describe the case as Germany's "biggest-ever crackdown on child porn on the web."

The nine men, aged from 30 to 58, are accused of distributing pornographic pictures and videos of children in private chat rooms between 2006 and 2009.

The charges against the men, who come from all over Germany, involve the forming of a "criminal organization" to swap obscene images.

Police say they discovered up to 100,000 such images, many involving violence, on the men's computers.

Two of the nine defendants are also charged with raping minors.

After this delay, the trial is expected to last roughly three months.

Author: Tony Dunham (apn/dpa)
Editor: Rob Turner

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