You may remember back in January this year I received a letter from the European Court of Huam Rights (ECHR) saying my complaint against the UK requiring UK sex shops be licensed was dismissed by 3 EU Judges with no explanation or right to appeal and
that after six months all documentation would be destroyed.
Well it appears Interfact Ltd (Private Shops UK) have lost their appeal to the ECHR also regarding the supply of R18 material via mail order.
The information was taken from the front page of the latest edition of ETO, an adult industry trade magazine.
A sex shop in Belfast caught illegally selling R18 DVDs and videos has been handed a heavy fine.
Misstique owners Sharman Enterprises Ltd were fined £6,250 at Belfast Magistrates Court after 600 recordings were seized because they were unclassified or had a hardcore rating.
DUP councillor Nelson McCausland said: This business has been using every device it can to remain open without the requisite license and has managed in the past to evade the law, [And lets not forget that Belfast Council have also been using
every device they can to impose a blanket ban on sex shops based upon their own morality rather than the strict justification of harm required by human rights legislation]
The council has refused to grant Misstique a license and the case has been taken to the House of Lords by Sharman Enterprises. Sharman has fought a lengthy legal case against Belfast City Council's decision to deny them a license.
Trading Standards officials visited the premises on February 7 last year. The owner was prosecuted under the Video Recordings Act 1984. There were 10 specimen charges brought before the Resident Magistrate.
This was the highest fine this year. There were three successful prosecutions of sex shops in Northern Ireland this year.
Nutter Esmond Birnie from the UUP added: I am disturbed that this material is being sold in these circumstances and I am glad they have been fined although £6,250 will hardly make a dent in their profitability. Hopefully this will provide some
deterrent and that is to be welcomed."
The class action (which may not be called that in the UK as a more relevant form will be used) has been handled up to now by a group of volunteers, including those editing this web site. They are now in the process of preparing and passing over the
case material to the solicitors. If you want to become involved, this is your chance, and no matter how much you have suffered, you must stand up now if you want your name and justice restored. You cannot expect the volunteers to come looking for you
when the action is rolling.
In an historic unanimous judgment handed down by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), the whole basis of the searches carried out under the auspices of Operation Ore in the UK has been rendered illegal.
The decision concerned a Gerard Keegan and his family and was not related to Ore but is very relevant. On the 21 October 1999, at 6 AM, the police, headed by a Sergeant Gamble smashed down Gerard Keegan's door. They purported to have been looking for
an armed robber, but through extremely sloppy detective work, they raided an innocent family's house. The raid lasted only 15 minutes and Sergeant Gamble apologized and offered to pay for the door, and, as far as he was concerned, that was the end of
However, the family were traumatized and Gerard Keegan decided to sue the police. The case ran through the domestic courts and, not surprisingly, they all found in the police's favour. But Keegan was nothing if not tenacious and he decided to take
the case to the ECHR.
The case was deliberated by the ECHE until the judgment was handed down that the police acted illegally under articles 8 and 13 of the Human Rights Act and that the family should be awarded compensation.
The crux of their judgment was that the police didn't put enough effort into determining whether the object of their search was indeed on the premises. They just handed a virtually blank form to the magistrate who, as always, didn't bother to examine
any evidence, but just signed the search warrant. This was what incensed the ECHR judges, because it was, in their learned opinion, a breach of the Keegan's right to privacy. Because it fell outside the get-out clause in article 8 in that the action
was neither legal (proscribed by law) nor proportionate.
The judgment basically states that the police should provide evidence to the magistrate that the person (or things) they intended to search for on the premises would actually be there and that they had reason to suspect a crime had actually been
committed and they had evidence to support it.
Which brings us to Ore. There was no evidence - save for credit card names and addresses, which in themselves proved nothing, particularly in light of the fact that the police made no effort to determine whether card fraud was involved - that any
crime had been committed - in other words, it was a blind fishing trip. And the sort of thing that is absolutely verboten under this new ruling.
To put it in a nutshell, the police acted illegally and I would urge ALL Ore victims to get in touch with
And in future the police will have to gather evidence enough to convince a magistrate who, at long last, will actually be required to view the evidence before a warrant is issued.
Note that the use of the term money laundering does not mean that these unfortunate guys were gangsters or racketeers. The Government now class any use of 'illegally' obtained funds as money laundering. Even fiddling an expense claim is now
considered as money laundering.
The owners of a Reading mail order adult video service will go to prison after pleading guilty to charges of money laundering and illegal film distribution.
Two men pleaded guilty to the charges stemming from a December 2004 police raid. During the raid, officers uncovered thousands of videos and DVDs as well as an operation for copying, packaging and distributing the films, prosecutor John Price told
the Reading Crown Court.
According to Price, the BBFC rated many of the films R18. By law, it is legal to sell such films in licensed sex shops, but distribution via mail is forbidden.
The two men, who did business under the name Vulcan, operated out of the licensed XTC sex shop. According to Price, the two made more than $160,000 in profit from the sale of films.
According to Price several of the films featured "unnatural activities between adults," including coprophilia — the practice of using excrement for sexual gratification. None of the films seized involved children, animals or any other illegal
acts, Price said: The people taking part are volunteers, and there is no suggestion that they were sold to anyone other than enthusiastic connoisseurs of pornographic films .
Judge Christopher Critchlow rejected requests by attorneys that the men be spared jail time. Sentencing the pair to 21 months in prison, Critchlow commented that many of the films were "obscene, degrading and corrupting." But, Critchlow added, he did
take note of the fact that all of the films depicted activities between consenting adults.
Belfast City Council is heading for the House of Lords in London in the last ditch round of a complex legal battle over the licensing of sex establishments.
The council is challenging a decision of the Northern Ireland Appeal Court quashing an earlier High Court ruling which upheld the council's refusal to grant a licence to Miss Behavin' Ltd for a sex establishment.
Three law lords, headed by Britain's senior judge and law lord, Lord Bingham, have just given the go-ahead for the council to appeal against the Appeal Court's ruling.
A decision just published says the case will centre on whether the council's decision to refuse Miss Behavin' a licence was unlawful or not.
The legal argument, when the case goes before five law lords later this year, will focus on human rights issues and whether the refusal of a licence infringed the rights of the applicants. No date has yet been fixed for the full hearing before the
The legal battle over sex shops in the city is one that has been going on for some time.
The shop's owner applied for a licence in May 2002 but it was refused in March 2003 when Belfast City Council announced a total ban on sex shops in the Gresham Street area.
The council also said it was unacceptable that the proposed outlet would be near to churches and family shops. Ulster Unionist city councillor Jim Rodgers said a victory for the shop's owner could "open the floodgates" for the pornography
industry in Belfast: There's a market for this type of thing but I don't feel we should have it in our city . I fully support this action and I know a lot of people here also support it. It is not good for the image of the city."
SDLP councillor Pat McCarthy has also said that while he is "not opposed to sex shops" he believes care has to be taken about where they are located.
I submitted my case to the ECHR back in April 2004 some 20 months back. It as been logged and is currently sitting on some EU legal Eagles desk in Division 18. Upon previous enquiries I have been told the average time to wait before a case goes to
Chambers is approx 18 months obviously I have crossed that freshold although as of yet have still to hear anything. My complaint centres around the states right to apply sections 9, 10 and 12 of the VRA given current access to such material in the
United Kingdom freely in one form or another without interference by the state. It also raises issue with the legitimacy of Schedule 3 of the Local Government Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1982 and challenges the legality of the Governments HRA 1998
Section 6 makes it clear that it is unlawful to act in such a way which violates one or convention rights yet section 4 of the same Act allows the state to ride roughshod over those rights afforded to us under the ECHR and Section 6 of the HRA 1998..
It is clear that all legislation mentioned above engages Article 10, it is for the State to justify the need for it`s application given current levels of access to such material as that currently restricted under the legislation the Internet
Satellite TV Magazines and Overseas mail order for example. Not only do we have clear inconsistency relating to access of such adult material we also have senior ministers going on record stating they are happy with the way certain areas of the adult
industry are self regulated regarding distribution and supply of pornographic material ie the sale and distribution of explicit porn in magazines through such outlets which are not regulated by the state nor required to be licensed to sell such
material and are accessible to the general public. The same general public the states seeks to protect from coming into involuntary contact with such material contained on DVD and video were this medium of supply is restricted by the above mentioned
legislation and a licensing regime and that the government sees fit to prosecute and criminalize those who supply such material from premises which under voluntary regulation restrict access to those who have attained the legal age to view such
I have been prosecuted twice over the years for the supply of R18 classified works from an unlicensed shop. Since my arguments like those submitted by expensive barristers on behalf of companies like Pabo have fallen on deaf ears I decided long ago
to make a complaint to the ECHR I have already applied to the High court which surprise was rejected by Lord Chief Justice Poole back in November 2002 so I have been able to prove that I have exhausted domestic remedy and I have also met the test of
proving that to follow such a course of action through the domestic courts would prove futile. This as been shown in the inconsistent and conflicting judgements made in such cases as well as the courts inability to acknowledge current levels of
unrestricted access to such material making the restriction of the same material on one medium alone DVD and video a social pressing need. At sometime during the course of 2006 the Government of the UK will be invited to justify such interference as
necessary in democratic society given the arguments already put forward they will be hard pressed to provide such compelling justification. Furthermore I am relying on cast iron case law in the form of SCHERER V SWITZERLAND Application No 17116/60
March 1994. The appellant ran a unlicensed sex shop it prior to the days of DVD and video but he was showing what the Swiss government defined as obscene material to customers at the back of his store. He was subsequently raided by the Swiss police
and prosecuted under Swiss penal code article 204. The court declared that in prosecuting the Swiss authority violated the Article 10 right to Freedom of Expression. The commission concluded that although the films being shown shown might well be
deemed obscene since they were being shown at the back of a sex shop (unlicensed) those adults who came into contact with the material had done so of their own free will as the sex shop and movies were accessible to all adults willing to see it. The
commission also noted that the nature of the applicants shop was not discernable from the street moreover it was unlikely that the projection room adjacent to the shop would be visited by persons who were unaware of the subject matter of the film
There was no danger of any adult being confronted with the film against or without their intention to see it. It is further undisputed that no minors had access to film as there was control in the shop ensuring such persons had no access. It is true
that it is primarily for the domestic authorities to undertake an assessment as to the protection of morals of adult persons , since morals vary and the domestic authorities are better qualified to make such an assessment ( well the UK has made an
assessment that such material is ok for sale without interference in a magazine without licensing so why can`t the same apply to DVD. In the commission's opinion the present case does not concern the protection of morals of adult persons in Swiss
society in general since no adult was confronted with either against their will or unintentionally with the film. Where this is so there must be compelling reasons justifying the interference at issue. In the present case the Swiss government (like
the UK) have provide no such justification.
In these circumstances the appellants conviction did not correspond to a pressing social need it follows that the interference was disproportionate to aim pursued and could not be considered necessary in a democratic society within the meaning of
Article 10.2 of the Convention.
So there we have it in black and white the case here centered around what the state defined obscene material. The material at issue here cannot be deemed obscene in fact it is lawful. The court stated that while the sex shop itself was not blatantly
obvious to passes by because it was a sex shop the proprietor implemented sufficient safeguards ensuring minors had no access to the explicit material. In the UK we are required to put visible warnings on the outside of the store in order to forewarn
passes by as to the nature of the shop and what is on view inside thus again ensuring that no adult unwillingly enters the shop. We also install inner doors I had CCTV at the front of my store which was hooked up to a monitor in store I also had a
electronic locking device on the door so no one could gain access without me pushing a button. When the case was put to the UK courts the prosecution argued that the Sherer case centered around the viewing of a film in the back of the shop and not
tangible goods such as videos and DVDss for sale in my shop and whilst the accepted that I had taken the necessary precautions so that those vulnerable members of society came into contact with it I couldn`t account for the goods once they leave the
store. Well excuse me but I`m sure the same goes for a licensed shop or do they follow the customer home and ensure the movie is only viewed when consenting adults are around and that afterwards the video is put away in a safe place I THINKS NOT they
are talking utter bullshit the facts are there the case law supports them its simply a matter of time until papers are served on you Mr Blair asking you to justify your bullshit inconsistent law...............
It's approximately 20 months from the date of application for a case to go before a Judge for consideration in the European Court. Well that's how long it took mine anyway, unfortunately even though my argument was not at issue the three Judges who
looked at my case could not find evidence of an abuse of any of the Articles under which I had brought my complaint. This was purely an oversight on my part whilst I provided a strong and undisputed argument I neglected to actually provide the court
with evidence of the prosecution brought against me in the UK which constituted an abuse.
This was part due to the time period involved I'd simply let my mind get side tracked away from the issue and while I had it in the back of my mind to send the information I was caught of guard in the sense that the court unexpectedly looked at my
case straight after Christmas. My case although did not centre around mail order but the requirement of a license to run a sex shop. At least Pabo are paying big guns to handle their application and I'm sure their Barrister will not make the same
mistake I did.