News State South Australia Adelaide gravedigger’s macabre photos are ‘immoral’ but legal: lawyer

Adelaide gravedigger’s macabre photos are ‘immoral’ but legal: lawyer

Lawmakers may make it an offence to take and share "ghoulish" photos of corpses.
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A gravedigger accused of taking photos of dead bodies and sharing them with friends did not commit a crime, police and law experts say.

The allegations emerged last month about the former employee of the Cheltenham Cemetery in Adelaide’s west.

They caused Planning Minister John Rau to order the Adelaide Cemeteries Authority to prepare a report, which was handed to police to investigate.

“Police have no evidence of any criminal offence having been committed,” they said in a statement on Wednesday.

The gravedigger allegedly took photographs of bodies, skulls and bones while working at the cemetery and later showed them to friends.

Prominent Adelaide lawyer Craig Caldicott says while this is a ghoulish thing to do, it’s not technically illegal.

“I think it’s immoral and reprehensible conduct but in the eyes of the law it’s not an offence,” he said.

Mr Caldicott’s firm researched some potential charges relating to the accusations, including the production or exhibition of offensive material.

“But we formed the view that you wouldn’t be able to stick the charges,” the lawyer said.

He said it was an awkward area of law because people often take photos of their deceased loved ones in a coffin.

“And there are textbooks all over the place with pictures of dead bodies in them,” Mr Caldicott said.

He said lawmakers might wish to review the relevant charges to make this specific behaviour illegal in future.

The allegations were made during an unrelated investigation into the man, who later resigned from his job at the cemetery.
– AAP