As some of you may be aware, Andrew Niland — better known to many of you on IAM as xbolloxx — was arrested earlier this week in North Bay, Ontario, along with his girlfriend, Adrianne Carbone. Here’s the pertinent information from the North Bay Nugget, a local newspaper:
Andrew Niland, 29, was granted bail Thursday. However, he remains in jail until he posts a $10,000 no-cash bond and finds two people approved by court to be his sureties to ensure he follows his release conditions.
Niland and his girlfriend Adrianne Carbone, 21, were arrested last week and jointly charged with aggravated assault for performing a labia reduction on a woman Jan. 18 at his residence.
Niland is also charged with two other counts of aggravated assault for placing an implant in that same woman’s chest — used to create a shape under the skin — in September 2007 and performing another labia-reduction procedure last April.
Court heard there are exceptions to charges involving bodily harm when it comes to piercing which could drive the issue into Canada’s highest court for a decision on consensual body modifications.
Justice of the Peace James Bubba heard that the women involved had asked to have the procedures done to them.
If he’s released, Niland is not allowed to perform certain procedures — such as branding or scarring — although he will be allowed to continue piercing if the procedure is done to accommodate a piece of jewelry.
He’s also banned from having any weapons.
Niland is facing additional charges of possessing a prohibited weapon and careless storage of that weapon after police found a .22-calibre handgun at his residence.
The weapons charge is another matter altogether, and BME takes no stance on that aspect of the case. However, the fact remains that Andrew was arrested for allegedly performing procedures on consenting adults, and the allegations of “aggravated assault” are ludicrous. He was charged as such because, under Ontario law, a person cannot legally consent to the procedures Andrew performed (unless, of course, they were being performed by a doctor). But this has always been a debate central to body modification, and now that its profile is only getting higher, these are issues that are going to have be addressed with the public at large: How much control do we truly have over our own bodies? If a grown woman, of the age of majority, of sound mind, and of her own volition, wishes to have a private practitioner perform a labia reduction on her, or to implant a silicone star, or any other number of things we see frequently in this community, should the state be allowed intercede? And if so, where is the line drawn?
If the story told is accurate, then Andrew did not coerce these people into having these procedures done: They sought him out. He is only in custody right now because the law dictates that adults are not allowed to make certain choices about their bodies. This case has the potential to have massive repercussions on the body modification industry and on our extended community, and we hope that you’ll all follow it closely. BME, of course, will keep you all up to date as much as possible. We’re currently looking into ways for people to support Andrew and Adrianne, perhaps by way of a PayPal account to help with legal fees. We’ll keep you all posted.
EDIT: Andy’s paypal is linked to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send paypal payments to that address in order to help him. I’m not linking a direct “donate” button for reasons mentioned in the comments below.