Extreme Pornography News

 2011

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8th December   

Update: Reprehensible Crime...


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Extreme porn cited in rape trial
Link Here

HM Courts Service Thomas Jackson has been jailed for 12 years for raping a teenager from Carlisle.

Police recovered three computers used by the defendant, and discovered he had looked at extreme pornography websites, some depicting rapes.

Passing sentence, Judge Batty told Jackson: This is the most appalling crime, which has shocked this whole city and beyond. The judge listed several aggravating features of the offence, including Jackson's use of extreme pornography. It indicates to me that this was an offence which was premeditated, said the judge.

 

19th November   

Extreme Irony...


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Prison director falls victim to the Dangerous Pictures Act
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doncastor prisonA Yorkshire prison boss responsible for protecting the public was watching extreme pornography on his private home computer, it has been revealed.

Philip Oliver, who was based at the privately-run HMP Doncaster, pleaded guilty to two Dangerous Pictuires pornography charges. He admitted possessing nine extreme moving images supposedly described as grossly offensive, disgusting and explicit images.

The offences were discovered in June 2010, at a time when the victim of this bollox law was the director of public protection at the jail in Marshgate. The court heard he was of previous good character.

He will be sentenced next month. The judge ordered a pre-sentence report on the defendant, saying there were matters in the court papers that reinforce the need for one , without any indication of sentence. Previous cases of computer pornography heard at Doncaster Crown Court have on numerous occasions resulted in prison sentences for offenders.

Serco Civil Government, which runs HMP Doncaster, stressed Oliver was using his home computer to commit the offences. A spokesman said: The offences with which he has been charged are completely unrelated to his employment.

Update: Extreme Escalation

19th November 2011. See  article from  yorkshirepost.co.uk

The Doncaster prison governor who fell victim to the Dangerous Pictures Act has been jailed for six months.

The extreme sentence was for one image and nine short films, totalling just 6:01s, depicting bestiality. These were not illegal when Oliver downloaded them in 2007. The images were on his own computer and were downloaded in his own time.

He came under suspicion apparently indulging in chatroom fantasies. Oliver invited another chatroom user to come to his house to have sex with his wife. He also talked about having daughters of 12 and 14 in the house, whereas in fact both his daughters were adults and had moved out.

Prosecutor Neil Coxon told Doncaster Crown Court that police went to Oliver's house after being alerted to something he had said in the chatroom and seized his laptop and computer.

But the escalation to such an extreme sentence for so very little was also related to his chatroom activities. Oliver had downloaded Team Viewer software in May 2009, which allowed other chatroom users to take navigate around his computer remotely.

Sentencing Oliver to six months in prison, Judge Peter Kelson QC, said:

This is a deeply troubling case. Your interest in these websites was on your personal computer at home and an entirely private matter to you. But when you installed team viewer software, you gave over control.

In doing so you rendered yourself, as a governor of Doncaster Prison, vulnerable to blackmail. It's not hard to imagine the potential consequences of a governor of a prison being subject to blackmail.

The crime of possession of these extreme pornographic images in the circumstances of this case is far more serious that the actual act itself.

In your position of great responsibility, giving over control of your computer to people sharing your sexual fantasies in chatline conversations puts the possession of these images in a completely different category.

 

7th November   

Updated: Minor Sideline...


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The IWF describe their role as internet censors of supposedly obscene adult porn
Link Here  full story: Vincent Tabak Knee Jerk...Aftermath of a murder conviction

IWF logoThe conviction of Vincent Tabak for the murder of Jo Yeates has thrown the issue of online criminally obscene adult content, sometimes known as extreme porn, into the limelight. The vast majority of the IWF's work concerns the removal of images of child sexual abuse from the internet, for which we have an international remit, but we also deal with criminally obscene adult material hosted in the UK.

In 2007 the Home Office asked the IWF to allow our public internet reporting mechanism to be used for the reporting of UK-hosted criminally obscene adult content. Following consultation with our industry members, our Board informed the government of our agreement to fulfil this role, from 26 January 2009, as part of our original remit.

We are able to act on any public reports of online obscene adult content when it is hosted in the UK and contravenes UK Law, we cannot act if the content is hosted abroad and do not action legal adult content. The online industry fully supports us issuing takedown notices for this part of our remit. However, we receive very few reports of this type of content which satisfies these criteria and enable us to issue a takedown notice:

  • In 2010 we issued eight notices for criminally obscene adult content.

  • In 2009 we issued two notices.

  • In 2008 the number was 39.

The reason there are so few is a reflection that the UK online industry provides one of the harshest environments for hosting criminal material. On those rare occasions when material believed to be unlawful is depicted on a website hosted in the UK, we work in partnership with the online industry and the police to provide information to assist investigations into the distributers of the content. The material is removed in hours.

The IWF is not an organisation which makes moral judgements on what is hosted on the internet. We are solely concerned with the prompt removal of criminal content within our remit and we have achieved great successes in this.

Offsite: Interview with Susie Hargreaves, IWF Chief Executive

7th November 2011. See  interview from  theregister.co.uk by Jane Fae

In recent years, the IWF has widened its net slightly. To its original concern with child abuse images, and imagery that breaches the Obscene Publications Act, it has added extreme porn (2008) and cartoon images of child abuse (2009).

Which brings us full circle to the question of whether the IWF is in danger of turning into a net police ? Hargreaves thinks not: There is no one on the IWF board from the police. Members come from a range of backgrounds, including human rights and some have strong anti-censorship views: the role of the IWF is to implement a takedown and filtering of material in line with what the industry wants.

And there, she suggests, is the heart of the matter. It is not unusual to hear the IWF praised by government -- or even ministers suggesting, sotto voce, that the IWF could be used as a solution to this or other problems, namely online bullying, terrorist sites and even piracy.

But so far, all such pressures have been resisted. MPs, she tells us, recognise that the IWF does what it does best by sticking to a very specific focus .

...Read the full interview

 

6th November   

Extremely Unlikely...

Man charged under dangerous pictures act because a gasmask 'could be' life threatening
Link Here

Bizarre Rubber Special Simon Walsh, an aide sacked by Boris Johnson, said he had been trapped by new laws that made it a crime simply to open a picture, sent to him unsolicited by email, of a naked male he insists would have been over 18. Walsh claims police are themselves unsure whether the male in the picture was over or under 18.

The openly gay barrister said a second charge related to a picture of a man in a gas mask which was simply homosexual porn that would be on sale legally in sex shops. The charge of possession of extreme porn images was brought as police judged that because of a risk of suffocation, the gas mask image portrays, in an explicit and realistic way, an act which threatens a person's life .

Walsh was fired by the Mayor and his chief of staff Sir Edward Lister, after refusing to stand down from his post as a mayoral appointee to the London fire authority, which controls the fire brigade.

Walsh, from Southwark, is due to have his case committed to crown court by Uxbridge magistrates.

And a reminder of the pertinent parts of the law cited

Section 63 Possession of extreme pornographic images

(1) It is an offence for a person to be in possession of an extreme pornographic image.

(2) An “extreme pornographic image” is an image which is both—

(a) pornographic, and
(b) an extreme image. 

(3) An image is “pornographic” if it is of such a nature that it must reasonably be assumed to have been produced solely or principally for the purpose of sexual arousal.

(6) An “extreme image” is an image which—

(a) falls within subsection (7), and
(b) is grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise of an obscene character.

(7) An image falls within this subsection if it portrays, in an explicit and realistic way, an act which threatens a person's life

 

2nd November   

Updated: Extreme Charges...

Bala man falls victim to the Dangerous Pictures Act
Link Here

HM Courts ServiceA Bala man has pleaded guilty to six charges of downloading extreme pornography involving animals on his laptop.

Dolgellau magistrates were told that the charges against  the man were so new that there were no magistrates' court guidelines available.

Tom Morgan Jones, prosecuting, said that three of the charges involved 59 extreme pornography videos involving animals and women, two charges involved extreme images showing serious injury to men's and women's private parts and one charge involved 25 extreme still images.

Update: Sentenced

2nd November 2011. See  article from  cambrian-news.co.uk

The Bala man who fell victim to the Dangerous Pictures Act has been placed on a two-year community order and must carry out 250 hours unpaid work after pleading guilty to six offences under a new Criminal Justices and Immigration Act.

Alun Humphreys, persecuting, said that three of the charges involved 59 extreme video pornography images involving animals and women, two charges involved extreme images which caused serious injury to men and women's private parts and one charge involved 25 still images. The accused pleaded guilty to all six charges after the images were found on his computer after a search warrant was executed on 31 March this year.

 

2nd November   

Update: Prejudicial or What?...

Lawyer argues that porn use should always be revealed in court
Link Here  full story: Vincent Tabak Knee Jerk...Aftermath of a murder conviction

usual suspects porn userEver been tempted to look at porn on the internet? After all, pornography is viewed by 35.9 % of UK internet users.

It's unlikely many of these are more than casual sauce-surfers, idling away a few moments of spare time over their lunchtime pot noodle. Certainly - or rather, hopefully - very few, fuelled by a cyber-fix, would develop a thirst for violence or even murder. Unfortunately, it did in the case of Vincent Tabak. And yet his predilection for hard-core and violent pornography - including images of women being held by the neck saying choke me - was kept from the jury in the Jo Yeates murder case.

An outrage since in my mind this was a scorching piece of evidence which directly played to the mindset of the accused. Without it, the Crown just about limped home with a conviction after the jury deliberated for two days before returning a 10 - 2 majority. A very close call for the Crown.

...

It's time to smash this disgraceful contradiction by carving the legal position in statute.

In my view, anyone watching internet porn should know that if they subsequently become a defendant or witness in criminal proceedings, their cyber spectating could be open to questioning in court, if relevant to the charge. Every day minds are polluted by the toxic trash being pedalled on the web. Yet the law seems to protect a violent killer tanked up on gruesome internet footage whilst exposing an innocent witness for his lamentable sexual interest.

At the moment a judge has a discretion to make this call. It's not enough. If he errs on the side of caution, suppresses evidence arbitrarily and gets it wrong, a vicious murderer could walk free. The scales of justice between the probative and the prejudicial need to be rebalanced. The law needs to stand as a serious deterrent.

There are 755 million porn-heavy pages on the web, generating 60billion a year in filth-soaked revenue. And nearly 36% of the population are looking at it. One of them could be you. Would you take a peek if you knew your secret wasn't safe?

 

2nd November   

Update: A Simple Man of the Cloth...

Bishop of Bristol thinks that ISPs can easily identify and block the 'kind of stuff' that Tabak viewed
Link Here  full story: Vincent Tabak Knee Jerk...Aftermath of a murder conviction

mike hillA Church of England bishop has urged people with shares in internet firms to confront them over their records on pornography.

The Rt Rev Mike Hill said that he was appalled to hear of Miss Yeates's killer Vincent Tabak's obsession with vile images of women being sexually tortured, and called for the Church of England and other investors to force ISPs to block such material. He added:

This kind of pornography seems so degrading, obscene and deeply unhelpful to the building of healthy communities. It beats me why any internet service provider would be happy to have that kind of stuff go out at all. You would have thought the risk to their reputations meant that any financial gain was not worth it.

The bishop, who sits on the Church's assets committee, added:

Of course not everybody who looks at internet pornography becomes a violent and sadistic killer. But the fact is a few do, and it may "turn on" something that was not there before.

The Melon Farmers added:

Of course not every cleric who looks at religion becomes a paedophile child abuser. But the fact is a few do, and it may "turn on" something that was not there before.

 

1st November   

Update: Jane's Legacy...

Liz Longhurst disappointed by the crap law that persecutes the innocent and doesn't pick up on the guilty
Link Here  full story: Vincent Tabak Knee Jerk...Aftermath of a murder conviction

Martin Salter and Liz LonghurstLiz Longhurst, the woman who fought for a ban on violent online pornography after her daughter's murder, has said she is disappointed it has not been more effective.

She said: I was glad that the law had been passed in 2009 but I did not feel it was necessarily going to have a tremendously marvellous effect.

I was rather surprised that really very few cases have been brought. There have been lots of cases of [connected with] child pornography but not many with adult pornography.

Longhurst said she was very sad to discover the man who murdered landscape architect Jo Yeates had viewed violent pornography on the internet.

[I wonder if Liz Longhurst ever sheds a tear for the innocent people persecuted by the law over a jokey bad taste video clip, or else for those people who would never dream of harming anyone, but who's tastes in porn would have been better left private?]

 

31st October   

Update: So What Has the Dangerous Pictures Act Achieved So Far?...

Martin Salter wheeled out to call for more of the same
Link Here  full story: Vincent Tabak Knee Jerk...Aftermath of a murder conviction

Martin SalterThe 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.

Since that time the law has achieved:

  • Numerous paedophilia cases have been pepped up with lesser charges of extreme porn that is found when computers are searched.
     
  • The authorities have been able to persecute people when no evidence of their suspected original crime has been found. The resulting computer search has turned up some extreme porn 'so at least they can be done for something'.
     
  • A few innocent people have got into trouble about jokey bad taste video clips found on their phones and computers.
     
  • Zero reports of dangerous sex criminals being detected from their extreme porn use.

Following the disclosure that Jo Yeates's killer Vincent Tabak was obsessed with websites showing sexual violence, bondage and strangulation, campaigners are inevitably claiming that an unstoppable flood of hard-core and violent pornography is corroding the very fabric of society.

This has been put down to the apparent failure of laws introduced in 2009 to outlaw images of rape, torture and extreme sexual violence as well as bestiality and necrophilia. Anyone caught visiting such websites to view violent and extreme pornography was threatened with up to 3 years in jail and an unlimited fine.

But officials admitted they expected to see only a small number of prosecutions and no extra funding was made available for a proactive police response. The policy contrasts with proactive inquiries into the use of child-abuse images which are the responsibility of specially trained teams.

Liz Longhurst, who led the fight for a new law after her daughter Jane was murdered, said she was disappointed that there have been few prosecutions and attacked the recklessness of internet companies. She claimed:

The internet service providers have so much to answer for. They go on about freedom, but for goodness sake where was Jane's freedom?

The police should make it routine that if somebody is accused of murder or a serious attack they should investigate if this stuff is on their computer.

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) said that last year they have investigated 2700 complaints from the public claiming llegal adult porn but these resulted in only 12 cases that were judged as potentially criminal and 8 take down notices were issued. The other 4 presumably been hosted abroad and not liable to IWF intervention. 49 take down notices have been issued in the last 3 years.

IWF chief executive Susie Hargreaves said: The IWF is able to act on any public reports of online obscene adult content where it is hosted in the UK and contravenes UK Law. However, we receive very few reports of this type of content which satisfies these criteria.

Former Labour MP Martin Salter, who campaigned for the new laws, said he wants to see police using them and sending out a clear message.

There are some people so evil and so depraved that nothing will deter them. But it was hoped that by tightening these laws we might prevent some unbalanced individuals from being tipped over the edge.

Quite frankly, every time the police use these powers and there is more publicity about their existence, the greater the deterrent factor in these cases.

 

31st October   

Offsite: Dangerous Commentators...

A round up of press commentators gleefully calling for more censorship to solve all the world's social ills
Link Here  full story: Vincent Tabak Knee Jerk...Aftermath of a murder conviction

Offsite: Internet porn is a poison seeping through society. We can - and must - stop its spread

See  article from  dailymail.co.uk by Stephen Glover

Daily Mail logoVincent Tabak, who was sentenced last Friday to at least 20 years in prison for the murder of Joanna Yeates, was obsessed with violent pornography on the internet. Rightly or wrongly, the trial judge had ruled that the jury should not be told about his extreme predilections.

But there can be little doubt that the images which Tabak found online literally corrupted his imagination, and influenced his behaviour. In the words of the prosecution, he moved from observer to participator as a result of his relentless trawling of hard-core sites.

Offsite: Daily Mail Editorial: In Joanna's name, close these vile sites

See  article from  dailymail.co.uk

Daily Mail logoWe already have a law that bans possession of the most extreme kinds of pornography yet it has resulted in only a handful of prosecutions.

But as Stephen Glover argues powerfully on this page, defeatism on this issue is not an option. Other countries police the internet. With determination, so can Britain.

Opponents of censorship argue that we should not interfere with the free viewing choices of grown-ups. But this freedom comes at too high a price if it means that potentially violent individuals such as Vincent Tabak become violent in reality.

Offsite: Inciting hatred of men by claiming they are all easily led to violence

See  article from  guardian.co.uk by Julie Bindel

The GuardianThere is, whatever the libertarians and porn apologists say, a direct link between violence against women and pornography.

I am not advocating the state censorship of pornography, ... [BUT] ...just that we bring in legislation akin to that which criminalises racial hatred. We should introduce a crime of incitement to sexual hatred in order to sanction those who produce and consume images of females being tortured and violated because of their gender.

Tabak is an extreme example of how pornography can feed sadistic fantasy to the point of where it is no longer enough to be a passive viewer.

 

29th October   

Bound to Cause Calls for Censorship...

Violent porn implicated in the murder of Joanna Yeates
Link Here  full story: Vincent Tabak Knee Jerk...Aftermath of a murder conviction

HM Courts ServiceVincent Tabak, who has been found guilty of murdering Joanna Yeates, regularly viewed violent pornographic films featuring women being choked.

The Dutch engineer also had  images on his computer of a Joanna Yeates look-alike wearing a similar pink t-shirt to the one she had on the night she was killed.

Other images found on Tabak's home and work computers included a series in which-semi naked women lay bound and gagged in the boot of a car. During the trial it emerged that after strangling Miss Yeates, Tabak placed her body in the boot of his car before going shopping at Asda.

Detectives who seized Tabak's laptop computer and two hard drives found evidence that he had viewed a number of violent pornographic films, in which women were abused, humiliated and physically restrained by having hands placed around their throat. Analysis showed he had viewed films from a series called Sex and Submission, featuring scenes of sexual violence towards women. In some of the scenes, the actors were bound and gagged and in others they were choked before having intercourse. Also it was shown that Tabak logged onto a pornographic website on the morning of December 17, the day he murdered Miss Yeates.

Details of the Dutchman's interest in violent pornography was only revealed, after the conviction as Tabak's defence team successfully argued the viewing of such material did not provide evidence that he had intended to kill Miss Yeates or cause her serious harm and that it might unfairly influence the jury.

 

16th October   

Extreme Sentence...

Kendal man falls victim to severe punishment under the Dangerous Pictures Act
Link Here

HM Courts ServiceA Kendal man has been jailed for five months after admitting possessing extreme pornography showing women engaged in sexual activities with animals.

Some of the footage found at the home of Gary Sharples was so supposedly disturbing that the policeman given the horrendous task of viewing the footage could not watch it, South Lakeland magistrates were told.

Lisa Hine, prosecuting, told the court that police searched the man's property while he was in custody on unrelated matters. During the search, police found 22 DVDs containing extreme pornography.

In mitigation, John Batty told the court that Sharples had relocated to Kendal from Greater Manchester, leaving behind family. It is something of a lonely existence, he said: This gentlemen knows what he did was naive and stupid.

Batty said he acknowledged that the threshhold for custody had been passed given the seriousness of the footage but asked magistrates to suspend any sentence of imprisonment because of the defendant's previous good character.

He said Sharples would not wish that anybody featured in the DVDs was harmed and thought the people involved were consenting adults. But magistrates claimed that because the footage was so serious, they had been left with no choice but to send him to prison.

Sentencing Sharples to 150 days' custody, lead magistrate Peter Benning said: This sentence is passed because of the extreme nature of what was on those DVDs and the level of seriousness - they are right at the top. We have no other option than to treat this seriously in the way that we have.

Sharples also admitted possessing cannabis resin but he was not sentenced for that offence because of the severity of the other punishment. Magistrates ordered that the DVDs and cannabis resin be confiscated and destroyed.

 

29th August   

Comment: Police Victim...

Sounds like a jokey video clip has put an end to a policeman's career
Link Here

police manchester logo A policeman caught with a supposed extreme animal pornography on his mobile phone has quit the force.

Gareth Tench was arrested by fellow Manchester policeman after they found a supposedly grossly offensive 35-second video clip featuring a horse.

He was spared jail after being convicted by a jury at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court, but his nine-year police career is over.

Tench was being investigated by fellow police over an unconnected allegation when they found the clip on both his personal phone and a folder called chill out on his computer. He admitted receiving the video in July 2006, saying it had been sent as an attachment to a text message.

Tench accepted he had watched the clip once, but said he had then deleted the message and with it, he believed, the video. The court heard that when his mobile became faulty, he had data,  including photographs and images, transferred from the mobile on to a laptop, and ultimately to his home computer.

The court was told that after being arrested in January 2010, he gave no comment answers to all questions about the video.

Tench was found guilty of possession of extreme pornography on his phone. But the jury cleared him of an almost identical charge of having the same clip on his computer because they could not be certain he knew it was there.

He was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £ 1,000 costs.

Supt Peter Turner, from the Greater Mancheter Police Professional Standards Branch, said: Possessing extreme pornography is a serious and criminal offence and Pc Tench's conduct has fallen well short of the high levels of professionalism and integrity expected from all our staff.

Update: Short on Arousal

29th August 2011. From Alan

A rather important point doesn't seem to have been raised. Pornography is explicitly defined in the Dangerous Pictures Act in terms of being intended for sexual arousal . Less coyly, it's wanking material. This clip lasted 35 seconds. Was ex-PC Tench trying to get into the Guinness Book of Records for the quickest J Arthur in history? If I remember correctly, in the case of the guy who was allowed to avoid his guilty plea after getting decent legal advice from Backlash, with the case being dropped when it came back to court, the clip lasted six seconds.

I think lawyers should certainly argue very strongly that clips of this length can't possibly be pornography within the meaning of the act.

 

1st August   

Since When have Orgies Been Obscene?...

Newsagent jailed for selling supposedly obscene mail order DVDs
Link Here

Scottish Courts logo A newsagent who ran a mail order business distributing supposedly obscene videos and DVDs has been jailed for 11 months at Kirkcudbright Sheriff Court.

Ronald Smart was told by Sheriff Shirley Foran that he had shown a complete disregard for his family and the law by committing the offence almost immediately after a previous penalty imposed on him for virtually the same thing.

At an earlier hearing the newsagent admitted selling supposedly obscene videos and DVDs. A hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act will be held later.

The court was told that police seized 148 videos and 199 DVDs on February 6, 2009, when they raided his King Street shop in Castle Douglas. They contained supposedly extreme material,and were said to contain lurid films featuring scenes of extreme 'degrading sex acts' including bondage, orgies and other 'obscene' material.

The police had also obtained lists of customers of Smart from computers and police had called at houses and addresses in many parts of the country.

 

23rd July   

Updated: Extreme Reach...

Scottish extreme porn 'sex offenders' will have to continue notifications when living elsewhere in the UK
Link Here

House of Commons logo Draft Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 (Consequential Provisions and Modifications) Order 2011

House of Commons
Third Delegated Legislation Committee
12th July 2011

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (David Mundell): I beg to move,

...

I suggest that the draft order, which was laid before the House on 22 June, be approved. I propose to provide the Committee with an explanation of what the draft order seeks to achieve. It is made under section 104 of the Scotland Act 1998, which allows for necessary or expedient changes to UK legislation in consequence of an Act of the Scottish Parliament. It is made in consequence of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010.

...

The 2010 Act also ensures that a person will be made subject to the sex offender notification requirements when they are convicted of the offence of possession of extreme pornography. The draft order will extend that provision as a matter of law in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, thus ensuring that a person made subject to the notification requirements as a result of conviction for possession of extreme pornography in Scotland cannot evade the requirement to register by moving elsewhere in the UK.

Question put and agreed to.

The order will commence on 1st August 2011.

Update: Explanation

23rd July 2011. Thanks to Harvey

The succinctly titled "Draft Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 (Consequential Provisions and Modifications) Order 2011" is really just a tidy-up.

The requirement to notify (commonly called The Sex Offenders Register) is a provision of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. That Act applies the whole of the UK. The SOA 2003 contains a schedule (3) which lists the specific offences which trigger the requirement to notify. The Scots are simply asking the UK Parliament to change the schedule to their 2003 Act so that the Scottish offence will be included and thus the notification requirements will be triggered and apply, UK wide, for a person convicted of that offence.

The SOA was similarly modified to include the DPA offence in Schedule 3. The DPA offence applied only to England, Wales and NI, but since it was made in the UK Parliament and the SOA applies to the whole of the UK, it was all accomplished with the text of the DPA, rather than requiring a separate tidying-up order so that a person convicted of the English offence would be required to notify even if they moved to Scotland.

Since the amendment simply includes a new Scottish offence to the schedule, it would not appear to change anything in the present law as it affects persons convicted of offences in England, Wales and N. Ireland.

Update: Passed in Lords Committee

12th September 2011. Based on article from publications.parliament.uk

The amendment has now been passed in Lords Committee with the comment:

The 2010 Act also ensures that a person will be made subject to the sex offender notification requirements when they are convicted of the offence of possession of extreme pornography. The order extends that as a matter of law in England and Wales and Northern Ireland. That ensures that a person made subject to the notification requirements as a result of a conviction for possession of extreme pornography in Scotland cannot evade the requirement to register by moving elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

 

21st July   

Not So Serious...

12 month conditional discharged for 19 animal pics
Link Here

HM Courts Service A community cop caught with animal porn on his computer escaped a prison sentence.

David Harrison was given a 12-month conditional discharge for possessing 19 extreme pornographic images, after the judge said he was just curious .

The ex-police community support officer was prosecuted for the porn after being arrested for sending sexually-explicit text messages to a 13-year-old girl for which he is serving a two-year community order.

Basildon Crown Court heard how police seized Harrison's computer as part of their investigation into the texts, and discovered 57 sexual images involving animals on the hard-drive. An 'expert' analysed the pictures and he classed 19 of them as extreme porn.

A probation officer who assessed Harrison ahead of the sentencing described the charges as very serious offences , but Judge Christopher Mitchell said he disagreed. Judge Mitchell said:

I fully accept your explanation that you were curious as to whether this material existed. Before 2008, having this material wasn't an offence and this sort of material relates to adults and animals, not children and animals.

 

18th July   

Diary: Call to Protest...

Consensual fisting becomes the subject of a Dangerous Pictures prosecution
Link Here  full story: Obscenity in the UK...Gay fisting, urolagnia and BDSM found not obscene by jury

protest fist t shirt Presumably the UK authorities have decided to prosecute someone for the possession of consensual gay anal fisting.

A website has been set up to highlight an upcoming case:

We know what is offensive and illegal, and images of consensual sex are neither! Don't be told what should and shouldn't be in your spank bank!

Currently there is a crime under the offensive publications act [Criminal Justice & Immigration Act 2008] which impacts us all.

It is about the act that came in force in 2009 The law makes it an offence punishable by up to three years in prison for someone to possess what it calls extreme images . An extreme image is defined as one which portrays in a realistic way any of: . An act which threatens a person's life . An act which results in or is likely to result in serious injury to a person's anus, breasts or genitals and the image... . Is grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise of an obscene character . Has been produced solely or principally for the purpose of sexual arousal.

Unfortunately many of the terms used in the Act are vague and open to interpretation. So until some unfortunate people end up in court and a jury decides, it is difficult to give absolutely definitive advice on what the Act means and how it will be enforced.

Our friend Sleazy Michael is the unfortunate who is being the test case for this. This impacts any of us who partake of pornography that involves any images that could be interpreted as Offensive, disgusting or obscene by the definition above. This includes images of consensual fisting!

Trial starts on the 1st of August at Southwark Crown Court.

If you can come along and show that we queers, know what is offensive or illegal, and images of consensual sex are neither!

Please be respectful of the court (no need to piss off the judge) and come and show support. Please- no banners or chanting outside or inside court, we want to show our support without jeopardising the chances of a fair trial.

 

26th June   

Offsite: Porn is Private...Porn is Bad...

Press comments on bondage porn brought up as a diversion in a murder trial
Link Here

The GuardianHelp me, I'm confused. Was Levi Bellfield standing alone in the dock last week, charged with the murder of 13-year-old Milly Dowler, or were the Dowler family, parents Sally and Bob, and sister Gemma, squashed in there with him?

Dad's bondage porn stash and Mum's alleged favouring of Gemma , both of which -- and more -- ended up cited as possible reasons for Milly not being murdered by Bellfield, but having run away instead. Sickeningly, even Milly's angst-ridden I hate my nose / No one fancies me age-appropriate outpourings in her diary were aired in support of Bellfield, making one wonder: is this the first case of teenage itself being subpoenaed as a witness for the defence?

...

Indeed, while everybody is concentrating on the viciousness of the questions directed at the Dowlers, we are perhaps missing the surreal levels of irrelevance and stupidity. How did one man's bondage stash ever get to feature in another man's murder trial?

But see article from independent.co.uk by Joan Smith

The IndependentEven if Milly hadn't disappeared, it is hard to see why possession of such material by the father of two teenage daughters should ever be treated as an entirely private matter. Looking at extreme pornography and acquiring restraints for use during sex are worrying behaviours, and it isn't hard to imagine circumstances -- a custody battle, for example -- in which they might even be interpreted as potentially abusive. Indeed, what is so extraordinary about the outpouring of sympathy for Bob Dowler is that so many commentators have been willing to overlook what this might imply about his feelings towards women, while rightly denouncing Bellfield's misogyny in the strongest possible terms. It is possible to sympathise with the Dowler family over the dreadful loss of Milly without arguing that the entire trial process is in need of an overhaul.

 

5th June   

The Law's an Ass...

Airport workers sacked for circulating Taliban donkey sex joke, at least better than being jailed
Link Here
donkeyVirgin Atlantic has sacked four airport workers for emailing a video said to show a Taliban fighter having sex with a donkey.

They lost their jobs at Gatwick for circulating the footage which is believed to have been filmed by US special forces in Afghanistan.

The clip has become an internet hit and carries the caption: What the Taliban do when they are not making improvised explosive devices.

The four were sacked last April for gross misconduct and warned they may have been in breach of the Obscene Publications Act. Presumably not an offence against the Dangerous Pictures Act as the pictures weren't created to sexually arouse, but to humiliate the enemy.

But they are claiming they were unfairly dismissed. A panel chairman is due to view the alleged donkey sex film at an employment tribunal.

 

1st June   

Offsite: Karma Police...

Case study of police persecution of man with single thumbnail extreme image on his computer
Link Here
Police raid house

  Police raid...
on suspicion of extreme thumbnail image

How do you know you haven't got extreme pornography on your computer?

Does someone else have access to your system? Could they have downloaded pornography without your knowledge? Would you know if a friend sent you a joke email containing pornography; which you didn't open, but your computer cached? Have you ever followed a link to a site that didn't give you any warning that it contained pornography?

These are just a few of the possibilities that police investigating extreme pornography offences have either denied or ignored.

...Read the full article

 

30th May   

Comment: Manhunt...

Victim of the Dangerous Pictures Act flees to Thailand
Link Here

HM Courts ServiceWell over the top reporting from This is Tamworth:

An international manhunt has been launched for a Streetly man jailed in his absence for downloading depraved pornographic photos and movies from the internet.

Debt collector Graham Bachelor is believed to have done a runner and fled to Thailand rather than face justice.

Jurors at Stafford Crown Court convicted the man of seven charges of possessing extreme pornography -- pictures of women being tortured and movies showing vile acts too sickening to describe in a family newspaper. Some images included animals.

The jury took only half an hour to find him guilty of all charges at the end of a trial held in his absence.

Bachelor, who previously denied the offences, was sentenced to a 12-month jail term.

Judge Michael Challinor said: The defendant downloaded these images and he was intending to keep them. Those involved in these depraved acts are likely to be harmed, physically and psychologically. My sentence must reflect the disgust of right-thinking members of society.

Comment: Sanctimonious Twat of the Year

30th May 2011. Thanks to Alan

letter writingHmmm, interesting... The allegedly learned judge and the local rag's reporter seem to be vying for the title of sanctimonious twat of the year.

What's worrying about this case is that it's the first report I've seen of conviction under the Dangerous Pictures Act by a jury after a contested trial. Hitherto, people have either pleaded guilty or the CPS has thrown the towel in when the accused got specialist legal advice and defended the case.

 

17th May   

Police Gimps...

Blinkered police jump to conclusions after finding bondage gear during murder investigation
Link Here

Real Leather Full Blindfold Detachable Milly Dowler's father became prime suspect in the murdered schoolgirl's disappearance after police found extreme porn and bondage gear at the family home, it was revealed in court.

The distraction wasted valuable time in the search for the missing 13-year-old and hindered the police investigation, a court heard.

It meant the focus was on him instead of the man now accused of her murder -- convicted serial killer Levi Bellfield.

Bob Dowler's admission about his fetish, and the impact it must have had on Milly when she discovered a magazine in his bedroom, came as the 59-year-old former IT recruitment specialist was cross-examined at the Old Bailey.  He was forced to admit that a search of the family's Surrey home uncovered porn magazines and videos in various rooms and a box of bondage equipment in the attic. Among the items recovered were a rubber hood, a ball-gag and magazines.

The trial continues.

 

2nd May   

Maybe Not So Extreme...

Teacher suspended for 2 years after accessing 'extreme porn' on school issued laptop
Link Here

General Teaching CouncilA teacher who used a school laptop to access supposedly extreme pornography has been suspended from the classroom for two years.

Robert Woods was suspended by The Manor School after he used a work computer to view disturbing sexual images showing the hanging and mutilation of women.

The teacher resigned immediately after he was suspended in 2009. There was a police investigation but no criminal charges were brought. Presumably the images were not 'extreme' in the context of the Dangerous Pictures Act.

However, he has now been found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct by a General Teaching Council (GTC) disciplinary panel, which concluded his behaviour fell below the standards expected of a member of the profession .

Committee chair Janis Butler said: We seriously considered whether to impose a prohibition order because of the nature of the material accessed, which included pornographic images showing the hanging and mutilation of women. Although Mr Woods has shown remorse and insight, this was not an isolated incident and the nature of the images accessed included 'extreme pornography'.

Butler said Woods had failed to uphold school policies and procedures, failed to recognise the important role of the school in the life of the local community, and take responsibility for upholding its reputation and building trust and confidence in it. Although this is a serious instance of unacceptable conduct where a lesser sanction is insufficient, we have noted these incidents did not take place during school time and that there was little or no likelihood of pupils viewing the pornographic images.

 

24th March   

Extreme Scotland...

Dangerous Pictures law comes into force in Scotland on 28th March 2011
Link Here

scottish government logo The prohibition on the possession of extreme porn law is due to be come into force in Scotland on the 28th of March.

It follows the format of the ban in force in the rest of the UK but extends the prohibition to include the depiction of rape and non consensual penetrative sex.

The Scottish Government has provided some guidance: See Information on the new offence of Possession of Extreme Pornographic Images [pdf] from scotland.gov.uk

There is a factual error in that document as it misrepresents the English law; the Scottish Government apparently doesn't know what an anus is, regarding it as synonymous with buttocks.

I'm not sure about the documents definition of severe injury which includes extensive/multiple lacerations (a vague term in itself). If anybody could clarify that, I'd be grateful.

At least it makes clear that cartoon images remain legal, an issue which was discussed within the Justice Committee but without clear resolution.

The bad news is that Scotland now suffers from greater restrictions to sexual freedom than probably anywhere else in the free world.

 

24th March   

Allegedly Extreme...

Court report conflates hardcore porn with factual information about strangling to conclude extreme porn
Link Here

HM Courts Service The BBC reported:

A man accused of murdering a Polish woman he shared a house with viewed extreme pornography on a computer before her death, a court heard.

Tomasz Sobczak, who lived with the victim in the town, is also alleged to have searched the internet for how to strangle a human being .

Birmingham Crown Court was told that a computer belonging to Mr Sobczak had also been used to view a webpage giving details of Polish serial killers. Prosecutor Christopher Hotten, QC, said an Acer computer belonging to Sobczak, a factory worker from Poland, was examined after his arrest. In the day or two leading up to the killing, he (Sobczak) had been viewing not only pornography, but also sites relating to strangulation. It had been used to access hardcore and explicit pornography, particularly on 19 July, he added.

At about nine o'clock on 19 July - the night before the day on which Magda was last seen - the user of Mr Sobczak's Acer computer searched on Google using the Polish which means 'strangling'. Shortly afterwards, the user searched a phrase in Polish, which translated into English means: 'How to strangle a human being'. Other searches found on the laptop looked at how long a person can survive without air, the court heard.

The trial continues.

 

15th March   

Extreme Blame...

Inquest into Derrick Bird killings told that he viewed extreme porn
Link Here

HM Courts Service Extreme pornography was found on the computer of gunman Derrick Bird by police, an inquest heard.

A statement from Det Con Mark Littlejohn, who examined the hard drive from Bird's computer.

There were no documents and no family photographs saved anywhere on the machine. The vast majority of the use centred on internet access to extreme pornography sites. These internet sessions tended to take place in the evenings and on average lasted in the region of 20 minutes.

The inquest continues.

 

11th March   

Updated: Beak Porn...

Rotherham magistrate convicted of possession of bestiality porn
Link Here

HM Courts Service A Rotherham magistrate has been convicted for the possession of bestiality extreme porn.

Michael Hall was found in possession 230 photographs and 150 videos which were discovered when police raided his home. Some showed women engaging in acts with horses, a donkey, dogs, a gerbil, a frog and a live snake.

Officers acted on a tip-off after discovering the magistrate, whose online activity had raised concerns, had an account on a file-sharing website. (Presumably one noted for this type of material).

Hall was sentenced to a three-year community order which requires him to spend 144 days completing a programme for sex offenders. He was also ordered to pay £ 85 towards court costs and will be supervised by the probation service for three years.

Hall was appointed to the bench in 2007. He was also a governor at three Rotherham schools. And he was a member of Rotherham Council's Children and Young People's Scrutiny Panel, which is made up of councillors and lay members with links to education or social care. He has resigned from all these posts.

Sally Sharp, head of the Crown Prosecution Service's Rape and Serious Sexual Offences Unit in West Yorkshire, told The Star: This case is particularly repugnant, involving multiple charges of possessing extreme pornographic images. The fact the defendant was a magistrate, and in a position of public authority and trust, is additionally an aggravating feature.

Update: Sentenced

11th March 2011.  See  article from  dinningtontoday.co.uk

Michael Hall was sentenced to a three-year community order which requires him to spend 144 days completing a programme for sex offenders. He was also ordered to pay £ 85 court costs.

 

28th February   

Unfair Conviction for Possession of Readily Available Books...

CPS throw the book at extreme porn victim
Link Here

Old Bailey A top judge has queried why a man was prosecuted for possessing supposedly indecent images of children - when the photos were available for sale in a string of respectable mainstream bookshops.

Lord Justice Richards said it was very unfair that Stephen Neal was pursued by the law for having four artistic photo books - which prosecutors claimed contained the lowest level one child porn - when the books' publishers and retailers who sold them were left alone.

The judge, sitting at London's Appeal Court, said the issue of the pictures' alleged indecency was a legitimate question for a properly directed jury .

But overturning Neal's convictions and clearing his name, the judge added: It is, however, very unfair for a person in the position of Neal to be prosecuted for possession of the photographs in these books in these circumstances. If the Crown Prosecution Service wishes to test whether the pictures in the books are indecent, the right way to deal with the matter is by way of prosecuting the publisher or retailer, not the individual purchaser .

Following a police search of his home, Neal was convicted of five counts of possessing indecent images of children at Snaresbrook Crown Court in November and received a community sentence.

One of the books was Still Time - containing a varied collection of images by the lauded American photographer, Sally Mann, whose work includes photos of animals, the landscape and her own children. Another title seized was The Age of Innocence by David Hamilton.

Neal had also been charged with possessing an extreme pornographic DVD, but was cleared of that allegation on the trial judge's direction.

Against this background, it is a matter of surprise that charges were brought against this individual in respect of the pictures, said the judge: It is legitimate to wonder if such charges would have been brought against him but for his prosecution in relation to the DVD .

Quashing Neal's convictions, he said the trial judge had failed to adequately direct the jury on the correct objective standards to be applied when assessing whether the photos were indecent.

The Crown Prosecution Service's application for a retrial was refused after Lord Justice Richards concluded that re-prosecuting Neal was not in the public interest .

 

13th February   

Counterfeit Conviction...

16 months jail for dangerous pictures seized from illegal immigrant copy DVD seller
Link Here

counterfeit dvds Li Ding was found guilty by St Albans Crown Court of possessing extreme pornography, which he hoped to sell.

But Judge Andrew Bright QC said he had been shocked to discover that Ding had been brought before his court nine years after first being refused permission to stay in the UK in 2002.

The court had heard how Ding made a living selling counterfeit DVDs, including pornography.

He was unanimously convicted by a jury of possessing extreme pornography. He had earlier admitted possessing criminal property.

The judge said: I am baffled how you could be refused political asylum in 2002 and still be here in 2011. The fact is you have been here illegally for a good number of years now.

Passing sentence, Judge Bright told Ding he had been found guilty of a particularly unpleasant offence. Referring to the pornographic DVDs, he told Ding: You were willing to sell them to whoever was willing to buy them.  There was a good chance that they would have fallen into the hands of children who would have been corrupted at the very sight of those images.

Sentencing Ding to 16 months in jail, Judge Bright told Ding that his continued presence in this country was not conducive to public good . He will now be automatically considered for deportation when he has served his sentence but the final decision will be for the UK Border Agency.

 

11th February   

No Freedom for Sexual Freedom...

Dangerous Pictures Act lives on in government's liberty-lite reforms
Link Here

backlash logo The Coalition's Protection of Freedoms Bill published today shows up Liberal inability to make really extensive changes in rolling back Labour's many new laws curtailing civil liberties.

Sexual freedom of expression is evidently a freedom too far.

Section 63 of the CJIA 2008, the so called extreme images law, will not be repealed. This despite it being in the top ten of Civil Liberties laws voted for repeal in the online consultation exercise in 2010, and opposed by Liberals in Parliament when originally enacted.

Backlash research, to be made public shortly, will show that s63 offences are several hundred times higher than projected by the then government when the law, based merely on a hunch and moralistic shudder, was whipped through Parliament.

Alexandra Dymock of Backlash, the sexual civil liberties organisation fighting a growing number of legal cases for incorrect prosecutions, said:

Most lawyers don't understand this law and advise their clients to plead guilty.

Already there have been too many miscarriages of justice and ruined lives that result from this ill-conceived, insufficiently researched, ineptly written and incompetently prosecuted law.

This law is a waste of valuable legal aid and police resources. It should be repealed. We will continue to lobby for repeal during the passage of this Bill .

 

6th February   

Extreme Punishment...

Lost job, kids taken away and community service
Link Here

HM Courts Service Pornographic images of sex with animals were downloaded on to a school lap top by a Bradford teacher, magistrates were told.

Evidence of them was later spotted on Stephen Walker's school's lap top by a supply teacher. Investigators found 20 downloaded videos of adult bestiality.

Walker pleaded guilty to three charges of possessing extreme pornographic images. He was sentenced to a 24 months community order and to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay £ 85 court costs.

Since the investigation began, Walker had been denied access to his children and had resigned from his job

Paul Ramsay, prosecuting, said links to the images came to light from Walker's emails read when he was on holiday. He was asked to bring his laptop from home and 20 videos of adult bestiality were discovered.

Paul Fitzpatrick, for Walker, said there was no danger that children could have seen them.

Walker was told by the Bench they accepted he was a man of previous good character and the probation service did not consider he was a risk to the public. They understood he suffered great personal consequences including the loss of employment, standing in the community and access to his children.

 

26th January   

Updated: Unspecified Dangers...

Update on the Dangerous Pictures Act in Scotland
Link Here

crown officeThe Scottish version of the Dangerous Pictures Act passed into law a while back as section 42 of the Criminal Justice and licensing (Scotland) Act 2010. However the Crown Office has not yet made a decision about the commencement date.

A request was made to both the Lord Advocate(Crown Office) and Advocate General of Scotland to refer the bill to the Supreme Court to ensure it's compliance with human rights legislation, supported by the legal opinion of Rabinder Singh QC, courtesy of Backlash. This ability to refer a bill to the Supreme Court is available in Scotland but not England.

Neither law officer decided to refer the bill. When asked their reasons for not doing so the office of the Advocate General said he didn't have to give a reason (some of you may remember that the Advocate General (Lord Wallace) had actually spoken in the House of Lords against the UK version of the DPA), whilst the Crown Office didn't think it was appropriate to enter into a detailed legal discussion .

The Crown Office has refused to reveal specific case marking guidelines; the advice given to procurator fiscals as to the type of material which would warrant charges. It claimed that information was confidential, despite it being pointed out that the advice was available in England and Wales.

Phantom commented:

Let us just for a moment savour the statement above.

As we all know, ignorance is no defence. So the public is liable. Yet what type of material is to be prosecuted, that is - confidential.

So in short: You must know. But we're not telling you.

Offsite: Secrecy to ensure that Scots can't avoid prosecution by keeping on the right side of the rules

26th January 2011. See  article from  theregister.co.uk by Jane Fae Ozimek

Following queries from readers, the Register asked whether the Crown Office intended issuing guidelines, as has happened south of the border, to enable those unclear over the precise scope of the law to delete any images that might get them in trouble.

They received a reply from the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, which is responsible for the prosecution of crime in Scotland:

We do not publicly disclose our prosecution policy in relation to specific offences as to do so may allow offenders to adapt or restrict their behaviour to conduct which falls short of our prosecution threshold.

They added that any such information would also be exempt from any attempt to tease it out by using Freedom of Information legislation.

...Read the full article .

Presumably the prosecutors saw the question as something like "how many mph over the speed limit will actually trigger a prosecution". They feel that drivers should only be aware of the basic speed limit, not the tolerance margins used by the prosecutors. But nevertheless the attitude is reprehensible. The law is very vague and people simply need to know something of how the prosecutors are interpreting it. For instance, does 'realistic' mean 'convincingly real', or does it mean just 'like real' as someone may say about a 'realistic' murder in a Hammer horror film, obviously not real but a good effort.

 

24th January   

Dangerous Top Up...

Extreme porn used to top up blackmail conviction
Link Here

HM Courts ServiceA Kendal man has been jailed for more than three years after blackmailing a respected member of the local community over his secret gay sex life.

When police searched his home computer they also found 185 images of extreme pornography.

When the extreme pornography was discovered Ellis admitted he had viewed the images, but told police he had done so out of interest rather than sexual gratification. He sometimes works in an environment where such images are shown in an attempt at building site humour, the court was told.

Judge Peter Hughes QC sentenced Ellis to three years three months imprisonment for the three counts of blackmail and four months imprisonment to be served concurrently for possessing extreme pornography.

 

13th January   

Update: Blunt Words...

Dangerous Pictures Act has been ruled out from the Not so Great Repeals Bill
Link Here  full story: Great Repeal Bill...UK government consults on bad laws to repeal

AllanB has been pursuing with his MP the possibility of including the Dangerous Pictures Act in the government's fading Great Repeals Bill

crispin bluntA reply was received from Crispin Blunt who describes himself as Minister with responsibility for the criminal law.

AllanB wrote:

After a page or so describing what the DPA was all about, and how images had to meet several tests (explicit, realistic blah blah) before warranting prosecution this is the quote ...as the offence is tightly drawn to apply to only the most extreme material we do not intend to propose this offence as a candidate for repeal.

The justification for the offence remains the impact they may have on those who view them , although he doesn't state what that impact is.

Presumably they've embraced the Rapid Evidence Assessment (REA) findings. This was a much influential 'academic' report written by anti porn activists. So if anyone is into further letter writing I would recommend challenging the REA. The last government was criticised by the parliamentary science and technology select committee for misusing scientific evidence to justify policy decisions which were actually based on ideological grounds. If ever there was engineered evidence the REA is it.

 

11th January   

Extreme Persecution...

Prosecution fails as single extreme image is lost
Link Here

Crown Prosecution ServiceNewcastle magistrates have dropped a charge of possessing a single image of extreme porn – because local police and prosecution appear to have lost the evidence.

A spokeswoman for the CPS told the Register: When we made the original decision [to charge], the image was provided to us on disc. The defence requested details of where the image was on the computer and when the computer was checked, the image was no longer there. In light of that, we felt we could no longer go ahead with the case.

 

7th January   

Updated: Safeguarding the Decency of Society...

First crown court trial for victim of the Dangerous Pictures Act
Link Here

stafford crown courtA man is on trial for downloading sexually violent porn images known to be staged. He is being prosecuted under laws banning the possession of extreme pornography.

The charges follow a police raid on Kevin Webster's home and the seizure of his two computers in August 2009.

Webster denies three charges of possessing extreme pornography depicting images likely to result in injury to a person's breast and one similar charge depicting an act which threatens a person's life.

Darron Whitehead prosecuting said:

We know the images were fake, we know it isn't a knife in someone's breast. The question is whether it is realistic or portrayed in that way. You have to be satisfied the people in those images are real. Plainly they are. The intentions of the persons within those images, the actors and actresses, are irrelevant. It is what is depicted in those images which is material.

Why is there a need for this new legislation? There is a need to regulate images portraying sexual violence, to safeguard the decency of society and for the protection of women.

The trial is continuing.

Update: Not Guilty

7th January 2011.

Labour nazi war room

 News of the acquittal reaches Nu Labour HQ
(picture thanks to MichaelG)

Kevin Webster has thankfully been acquitted of the possession of extreme porn images downloaded from Drop Dead Gorgeous featuring on the 'infamous' but popular NecroBabes website.

He was advised in defence by Backlash , the group leading the campaign against this nasty piece of legilsation. The defence called two expert witnesses, Professor Feona Attwood of Sheffield Hallam University and Dr Clarissa Smith of the University of Sunderland. They are probably the leading academic authorities in the field, and together wrote the definitive study of how the new law came into being - Extreme Concern: Regulating 'dangerous pictures' in the UK.

In perhaps an important analogy that caught commentators attention, Attwood described the pictures, depicting a knife attack and a drowning in a bath, as like stills from a Hammer horror film of the 1970s,

The importance of the verdict was well summed in an article from  heresycorner.blogspot.com :

The case represented an important test of s.63. For the first time (at least in a case of intentional downloading of sexual images) a defendant pleaded Not Guilty; and for the first time a case went before a jury. Previously, charges of possessing extreme porn have been uncontested. They have also tended to involve images of animal abuse, whose illegality is less controversial, or been charged alongside child porn offences. Here were pictures that were admittedly consensual and obviously staged, and yet appeared to fall within the definition of the Act. In many ways this was the case that campaigners against the law have been waiting for.

The news came this afternoon that Webster has been cleared. Had he been convicted, it could well have opened the floodgates to many more such prosecutions. Will his acquittal have the opposite effect, and make the CPS think twice about their own definitions of extreme pornography?

If this illiberal law (which seems unlikely to fall victim to Nick Clegg's much-anticipated Freedom Bill, despite a vociferous campaign to have it repealed) has any justification, then it should be restricted to cases which appear to feature images of actual sexual violence and abuse. In other words, for realistic to be interpreted as meaning likely to be real . The vast majority of such material, even the most extreme , is however known to be staged. Some of the participants, indeed, are articulate advocates for their subculture. Several have their own blogs. While fans of the genre, as Clarissa Smith told the court, knew and recognised the regular performers who played dead for the camera. We are dealing with pure fantasy. It's good to know ordinary members of a jury can tell the difference between fantasy and reality, even if the law and its enforcers decide that the distinction doesn't matter.

Update: Mock Erotic Murder Scenes

20th January 2011. See  press release from  backlash-uk.org.uk

Prosecutors fail first test case to make mock erotic murder scenes illegal.

backlash logo Kevin Webster, who downloaded erotic fantasy images with violent themes from the internet, was found not guilty of possession of extreme pornography at Stafford Crown Court today. The jury were asked to decide whether obviously faked death images were in fact realistic depictions of sexual violence; despite the prosecution having to accept, before the trial even began, that the images were clearly staged . In a victory for common sense and free speech the jury unanimously acquitted Mr Webster of all charges.

Mr Webster's solicitor Myles Jackman of Audu and Co, who has now successfully defended a number of extreme pornography prosecutions, said: The jury's clear and unequivocal message is a damning blow to the credibility of the ill-conceived and prurient extreme pornography legislation. It has previously led to the state prosecuting the possession of dirty-jokes; and in Mr Webster's case what were clearly unrealistic high-camp horror fantasy images .

Expert witness Prof Feona Attwood of Sheffield Hallam University described the images in question as less realistic than a British soap opera.

According to Alexandra Dymock of Backlash, the sexual civil liberties organisation who put Mr Webster in contact with his specialist legal team, said: This ill-conceived, insufficiently researched and poorly written law has now been shown to be not only a waste of valuable legal aid and police resources, but that it is also out of step with the attitudes of ordinary members of the British public in the face of reasonable argument, even if they find the material itself distasteful.

Backlash have petitioned the Coalition to include the extreme porn act in the forthcoming repeal bill and hope Mr Webster's case illustrates the need for this repressive and intrusive legislation to be removed from the statute books.

 

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