All charges have been dropped against Chris Illingworth
, the man who was charged for republishing on a video-sharing site a video of a man swinging a baby by its arms like a rag doll.
Despite having had no involvement in the creation of the three-minute clip, Illingworth faced a maximum penalty of 20 years in jail for two charges of accessing and uploading child-abuse material.
Illingworth, who is an administrator of the Liveleak video sharing site, claims a Queensland Police officer even asked him for help in identifying other "suspect" videos uploaded to the site, right before he was charged.
Illingworth has long claimed that he was a "citizen journalist", publishing a "common interest story", and he has uploaded thousands of videos to the site to date.
A disclaimer he published when uploading the baby-swinger video warned people that "this actually endangers the baby's life" and called for information as to the origins of the video.
The baby is laughing and smiling at the end of the clip, but the video attracted criticism from child-welfare advocates because of how vigorously the man swings the child.
Later investigations revealed the clip was most likely "a training film for a Russian circus family", his lawyer, Michael Byrne, QC, said.
Illingworth claims it was part of a series of 10 clips, one of which showed parents building their child' strength from the age of one by attaching velcro weights to their hands and feet.
Nic Suzor, spokesman for online users' lobby group Electronic Frontiers Australia, said the dropping of the charges highlighted the fact that child-abuse laws were too broad and did not provide certainty
"I think that this vindicates our position that he shouldn't have been charged in the first place," Suzor said.