The so-called ‘cannibal cop’ Gilberto Valle, found guilty at trial in March 2013 of conspiring to kidnap women and illegally accessing potential victims information on a police database, was cleared of all charges by a U.S. appeals court on Thursday, MSN News reports.

New York ‘Cannibal Cop’ Cleared Of All Charges

Last year the trial judge cleared New York City Police Officer Valle of the conspiracy charge and that decision was upheld at the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York after a 2-1 ruling. After much deliberation the second charge was also rescinded.

The case highlighted the legal grey area between fantasizing about committing a crime and actually committing it and the ethics of pre-emptive sentencing.

“This is a case about the line between fantasy and criminal intent,” Circuit Judge Barrington Parker wrote on behalf of the majority vote. “Fantasizing about committing a crime, even a crime of violence against a real person whom you know, is not a crime.”

Circuit Judge Chester Straub voted against clearing Valle and wrote in a statement. “It was, and remains, for the jury to determine the factual question of whether Valle had criminal intent,” he wrote. “The jury considered and rejected Valle’s defense that he was simply pretending to commit a crime.”

Valle was sensationally nicknamed the ‘cannibal cop’ when it transpired he had fantasized about wanting to abduct, kill and eat women. Valle had openly discussed his desires with others of similar persuasion online. His defense argued that his actions had only served his sinister fetish and that he never intended to actually go through with the plans.

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