Justice Michael Adams of the New South Wales Supreme Court wrote for the majority in the co-called "Simpsons" case, named because the accused party involved produced cartoons featuring the characters from the long-running Fox TV show performing sex acts.
The accused man, Alan John McEwan, had been appealing a previous conviction for possessing child pornography. His cartoons show such popular characters as Bart, Lisa and Maggie Simpson having sex. His original punishment had been a $3,000 fine and a good behavior bond.
The larger implication in the judge's decision is his declaration that the cartoon characters depicted in this case were "people" in the legal sense of the term – in Australia, at least.
"In my view, the magistrate was correct in determining that, in respect of both the commonwealth and the [New South Wales] offences, the word 'person' included fictional or imaginary characters," the judge said, later adding, "The mere fact that the figure depicted departed from a realistic representation in some respects of a human being did not mean that such a figure was not a 'person.'"