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Melon Farmers

21st October

  Is it all politicians can do, dream up new ways to imprison anime fans?...

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Barrister warns Manga and anime fans to be careful after man is imprisoned over dangerous cartoons
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HM Courts Service An anime fan has made legal history as he was convicted of having illegal pictures of cartoon children. Robul Hoquei is believed to be the first UK victim of the Dangerous Cartoons Act hauled before court over his collection of Japanese Manga and anime.

He admitted 10 counts of possessing prohibited cartoon images of children at Teesside Crown Court .

His barrister Richard Bennett said: These are not what would be termed as paedophilic images. These are cartoons. And he noted that such banned images were freely available on legitimate sites. He said:

This case should serve as a warning to every Manga and Anime fan to be careful. It seems there are many thousands of people in this country, if they are less then careful, who may find themselves in that position too.

Police found the images when they seized Hoque's computer from his home on June 13, 2012, said prosecutor Harry Hadfield. He said officers found 288 still and 99 moving images, but none were of real people.

Hoque was given a nine-month prison sentence suspended for two years.

Comment: More dangerous drawings

From Angelus Section 62 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009

letter writing The article claims this is the first time that "dangerous drawings" charges under the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (C&JA) have been brought solely in regard to Japanese anime/manga style images (presumably as opposed to things like "Simpsons porn" as in another recent case). There were other charges originally brought but subsequently dropped, and the nature of these charges suggests that the accused was possibly already under a supervision order following his prior conviction for possession of indecent pseudo-photographs of children, which is also mentioned in the article. So this is a convicted sex offender, a convenient piece of low-hanging fruit on which to see if charges under Section 62 of the C&JA could be made to stick.

In the end, the accused entered a guilty plea, which given his situation seems understandable as it probably helped him to avoid prison. However, I am again concerned at some of the reporting from the courtroom, which suggests once more that the bar for conviction under this law is being set far too low. When the initial draft of what was to become the C&JA was first introduced into Parliament, there was considerable disquiet among some MPs and peers because of the possible impact of Section 62 on freedom of expression and genuine works of art. In response, it was stated on behalf of the Government that the wording of the Act was intended to catch only those images at the "upper end of the scale", images that would already be criminally obscene under existing legislation. To me, the wording makes it quite clear that the criminal obscenity of an image needs to be established in order to secure a conviction, but the article's description of some of the images in question leaves me in considerable doubt that this wording is being applied correctly.

The most chilling comment, though, comes from the defence barrister, who is reported as warning every anime and manga fan in the country to be careful lest they put themselves at risk of prosecution. If that is how the C&JA is now being interpreted then it clearly has gone way beyond its original intended scope. I can only hope that the first person charged under this Act who dares to enter a "not guilty" plea somehow manages to assemble a defence team that is up to the task of proving that this has happened.


14th October

  The Law's an Ass...

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More lives and livelihoods destroyed over a few bestiality images
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HM Courts Service The latest victim of the Dangerous Pictures Act is Richard Blackmore who has been convicted of possessing extreme pornography.

He admitted seven offences and was ordered to receive two years supervision. He also made a Sexual Offences Prevention Order which allows police to monitor Blackmore's internet usage and ordered the destruction of the two laptops once family photographs have been removed and saved.  He also lost his job as a result of the case.

Blackmore was found with films and images which he downloaded from the internet on two different occasions. When police seized his laptop he bought another one and downloaded more images of bestiality involving horses, cattle and dogs.

Blackmore was arrested after police raided his family home and seized a laptop on which they found 427 still and 18 movie images showing sex with animals. His home was searched again eight months later and another laptop was found with 434 more still images.


21st September

  Rejecting calls for 10 year prison sentences for online copyright breaches...

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Open Rights Group has responded to a consultation into changes to the law that could lead to people found guilty of online copyright infringement facing up to ten years in prison.
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Open Rights Group logo The consultation, carried out on behalf of the IPO by Inngot is based around the following question:

Today, there is a significant difference between the penalties for offline and online copyright infringement. If convicted, criminals can serve up to ten years for the first -- but only a maximum of two years for the second. Do you think the law should be changed?

In our response , we have outlined why we believe that it is is misleading to suggest that online and physical copyright infringement are comparable offences and should therefore carry the same penalties. It is relatively easy to distribute large numbers of digital copies of a work online, while doing the same in the physical world would involve infrastructure clearly beyond the reach of ordinary citizens. We believe that there is a risk that members of the public could be unwittingly in criminal online infringement -- even if they are not making any money.

Changing the law could even lead to harsher sentencing for online infringement than for offline infringement. The difficulty in making evidence based assessments of the actual values involved in online infringement tends to generate estimates of very high economic harms, easily in the millions. This could make non commercial online infringers end up with much higher sentences than hardened criminals dealing with physical goods.

ORG also believes the consultation is flawed because it doesn't seek the opinions of ordinary internet users but assumes that respondents, generate income from the copyright of their works. We do not believe this policy should be considered but if it is, we will mobilise our supporters and the rest of civil society to oppose it.


9th September

  Extreme Punishment...

Judge fined a 16 year old boy a personally priceless laptop for a single animal porn image
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HM Courts Service

A teenager went berserk when a judge ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the hard drive from his laptop.

The 16-year-old admitted possessing 'AN' extreme pornographic image involving sex with an animal.

He didn't react when he was made subject to a referral order but hurled abuse at District Judge Alan Jones when he made the forfeiture order.

The boy swore at the judge who ordered a police officer in court to arrest the teenager and there was a violent struggle before he was taken out of court.

When the question of forfeiture had first been raised the boy had said he wouldn't be responsible for what happened if the order was made.


1st September

  Extreme Law...

Man with no previous convictions told he faces jail for possession of a few bestiality images and videos
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HM Courts Service A Devon man has fallen victim to the Dangerous Pictures Act.

Richard Blackmore admitted seven charges of possessing extreme pornography between October last year and February this year involving people having sex with dogs, horses, cows, ponies and other assorted live animals .

Exeter magistrates heard police searched Blackmore's home on an unconnected matter and found more than 850 still images and 18 movie files on two computers.

Blackmore, who has no previous convictions, was bailed to appear before a judge for sentencing and told he faces a prison sentence.

Police raid house

The Dangerous Pictures Act

The UK Government passed the Criminal Justice & Immigration Act 2008 criminalising the possession of adult, staged, consensual violent pornography with draconian penalties of up to 3 years in prison. The law also bans images of bestiality and necrophilia.

The law applies to England, Wales & Northern Ireland

See Document Index


2014 Extension to images depicting non-consensual sex

See bill progress at Criminal Injustice and Courts Bill index page: Passed 2nd Reading in the House of Commons


The Dangerous Pictures chapter of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 came into force on January 26th 2009.

Government guidance [pdf] has been published to further explain what images are considered dangerous to possess.

See also CPS Extreme Pornography: Legal Guidance


A bill was passed in June 2010 to become the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 [pdf].

The clause came into force on 28th March 2011. Public guidance has now been published by the Scottish Government

Anime girl of indeterminent age
How are we expected
to know how old she is?

Criminalising Anime Dangerous Cartoons Act

The UK Government introduced a clause in Coroners and Justice Bill to criminalise the possession of non photographic but pornographic images of children with draconian penalties of up to 3 years in prison.

The Dangerous Cartoons clauses are found in Part 2 Chapter 2 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 and explanatory notes.

The Melon Farmers have also identified what they consider the key points of the law

The Bill passed into law when it received Royal Assent on 12th November 2009. The Dangerous Cartoons clauses came into force on 6th April 2010.