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'Swirl Face' expected to plead not guilty in child sex-tourism test case 0

By David P. Ball, 24 hours Vancouver

Canadian Christopher Paul Neil (R) arrives at the Bangkok Criminal Court August 15, 2008. A Thai court sentenced Canadian "swirly face" paedophile Neil to 39 months in prison on Friday for abducting and molesting a 14-year-old boy and posting pornographic pictures on the Internet. Neil, who is in his early 30s, was caught after police computer experts in Germany unravelled his digitally scrambled face from images of child sex abuse on the Internet, prompting Interpol to issue a worldwide public appeal to identify him.  REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom (THAILAND)

Canadian Christopher Paul Neil (R) arrives at the Bangkok Criminal Court August 15, 2008. A Thai court sentenced Canadian "swirly face" paedophile Neil to 39 months in prison on Friday for abducting and molesting a 14-year-old boy and posting pornographic pictures on the Internet. Neil, who is in his early 30s, was caught after police computer experts in Germany unravelled his digitally scrambled face from images of child sex abuse on the Internet, prompting Interpol to issue a worldwide public appeal to identify him. REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom (THAILAND)

The lawyer for Maple Ridge’s Christopher Neil — the former teacher nicknamed “Swirl Face” during an international child porn manhunt — is expected to plead not guilty to 10 charges, according to his lawyer.

Neil appeared in a Port Coquitlam court Monday on new charges stemming from films made in Cambodia 11 years ago, including sexual touching, invitation to sexual touching, and production of child pornography.

In 2008, Neil was convicted of sexually assaulting two underage boys, and he faces several other charges, including possession of child pornography and accessing it since his arrest.

“It's early stages, but I expect he'll be pleading not guilty,” his lawyer, Mark Thompson, told 24 hours. “The next steps and timing will depend on if he's released or not.”

Thompson, Neil's lawyer since his return to Canada in September 2012, said it's “way too early” to discuss his defence strategy in the case, but with few other precedents the case is set to test Canada's new overseas sex-tourism laws, which allow Canadian citizens to be charged with offences in other countries.

“There are only four other cases like this,” Thompson said. “I don't have experience in this particular charge ... I haven't done this before. It's all new to me.”

Neil was arrested in Bangkok in 2007 after a massive global manhunt over images allegedly depicting him raping children with his face concealed by a swirl effect.

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