The Consenting Adult Action Network campaigns against UK censorship and the repression of people's enjoyment of sex.
The group publishes occasional bulletins when campaign matters arise and there are several relevant issues on the agenda at the moment. Bulletin 4 covers the following developments:
'Tiger Porn' case gives rise to Judicial Review of extreme porn law
One of the worst cases of the misuse of S63(7) CJIA 2008 legislation (which criminalises people for possession of extreme pornography ) was the prosecution of Andrew Holland for possessing a comic video clip of a woman apparently having sex with a
tiger (actually, a man in a tiger suit). The prosecution had a devastating impact upon Andrew's life but was eventually dropped by the CPS. The circumstances of this case are quite appalling. The excellent campaigners in Backlash have provided the
support needed to help Andrew obtain professional legal advice. In October Hodge Jones & Allen LLP solicitors began the legal process to challenge the compatibility of S63 with ECHR....
Rape porn Bill introduced to Parliament (England, Wales and NI)
In February the government introduced a Bill to Parliament that will extend S63(7) CJIA 2008 to criminalise the possession of pornography that depicts rape. It is argued that it may have greater implications for the general public than the first four
categories that were originally criminalised. This is because material that depicts rape can be difficult to define....
The battle to stop the criminalisation of the purchase of sex: Modern Slavery Bill
The Modern Slavery Bill is currently working its way through Parliament. A few days ago an MP proposed an amendment which would insert a clause to criminalise the purchase of sex. The English Collective of Prostitutes jumped and in a very short space of
time managed to get hundreds of people to write to Bill Committee members asking them to oppose the amendment. We won... MP's did not support the amendment....
Out for Xmas: everything you need to know about the regulation of online smut
Taming the Beast, by Jane Fae, a comprehensive overview of the legal and technical measures taken in the UK to combat online pornography, should now be out in time for Christmas...
A man has been sentenced to a five month imprisonment, suspended for two years for the possession of extreme porn. He was also ordered to complete an internet offenders course, and pay a £880 fine
Keith Dorrington used a work laptop to download images and videos that showed women having sex with a Great Dane, a snake and a horse. Jurors also heard of images which involved acts which could have damaged the genitals.
The images were reported to police after bosses at Ford's Dagenham dealership found unusual internet traffic on their devices. He admitted four charges of possession of images of people and animals and four counts of possession of films of people
I didn't understand that the extreme material was unlawful but I accept that it was wrong to download it.
Daniel Murgatroyd has been sentenced for possession of three extreme pornography movies and 36 still images featuring bestiality. He was given a three month prison sentence suspended for 12 months, and was made the subject of a 12 months supervision
order. He must also do 200 hours of unpaid work, and pay a £500 fine.
This came to light after police raided the shared house. The court heard officers executed a search warrant following intelligence that somebody at the address was accessing images of child abuse. No prosecution was brought against one of this housemates
in relation to those pictures after the images were found to be tiny thumbnail photos, but in the course of the investigation all the computers in house were searched -- and Murgatroyd's animal pornography was found.
A former probationary Metropolitan Police officer has been fined £430 after sending a bad taste joke in the form of an extreme pornographic image to his colleagues.
Jack McGillivray pleaded guilty at London's Westminster Magistrates Court to publishing an obscene article on July 31.
Prosecutor Edmund Hall said McGillivray had promptly accepted that he had sent a single image, which he had received from a friend, to both male and female police trainees while he was on a course.
McGillivray said he had done it humorously and later apologised for causing any offence, has handed in his resignation and is currently suspended.
Deputy chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot heartlessly told McGillivray that she accepted his explanation that it was just a joke but told him it was one which has now had catastrophic consequences . You are about to lose your job and you
are about to lose your good character.
You could tell straight away it wasn't a real tiger, says Andrew Holland, describing a video sent to him of a man in a tiger suit having sex with a woman. Right from the word go, the tiger was talking.
Andrew Holland suffered ridicule and harassment after prosecutors failed to notice that a lusty tiger in a video found on his phone was actually just a man in a tiger suit. See if you can do better than his prosecutors
One of the reasons why politicians are held in such low regard, they create bad law that opens innocent people up to state persecution without the slightest regard how it will pay out amongst ordinary people. But what the hell, the Daily Mail and extreme
feminists will be happy...and that's obviously all that counts.
The law penalising possession of extreme pornography faces judicial review by a defendant previously charged with having a video of woman having sex with a tiger.
It was revealed in Court that the tiger was actually a man in a tiger-skin costume.
Yet the former defendant, Andrew Holland, of Wrexham, North Wales, suffered significant disruption to his life and widespread public ridicule.
Solicitor Myles Jackman at Hodge Jones & Allen LLP acting on behalf of Mr Holland, said:
Mr Holland does not want others to go through the ordeal that he has faced. Mr Holland wants to ensure that others are not prosecuted unnecessarily in the manner that he was. He remains subject to the risk of further criminal charges in the event that
he is in possession of similar joke images in the future.
Consequently Backlash have written to the Prime Minister, and HJA have written to Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions asking her to review the implementation of this law: Section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008.
Something has gone badly wrong when Parliament were told there would be thirty cases a year yet there have been thousands of costly prosecutions emphasised Backlash Chair Hazel Eraclaeous.
If this review is not forthcoming, the law will be challenged by way of judicial review in the Administrative Court of the High Court.
Jon Fuller, spokesperson for Backlash, said:
This law threatens anyone with a sex life they want to keep private. It threatens ordinary members of the public who exchange dirty jokes by phone and over the internet. Potentially criminalizing millions of people is a disproportionate consequence of
a law not based on harm and with no clear benefit.
Letter to the Prime Minister from Backlash
Dear Prime Minister
S63(7) of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 Prospective Judicial Review in the Administrative Court of the High Court: Pre-Action Protocol Letter
In the years since S63(7) of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 was enacted there have been over 5,500 prosecutions for possession offences. Prior to the introduction of the legislation Ministers said there would merely be a handful of cases
each year, and the Regulatory Impact Assessment predicted just 30 per annum.
Of great concern is that over the five years since enactment of the legislation the public, law enforcement agencies and the judiciary remain either oblivious or uncertain as to the precise meaning of at least two, and possibly all four, categories of
the legislation. The Simon Walsh trial showed that CPS had sought to widen the meaning of Section 63(7)(b), seeking to prosecute for possession of images that depicted unconventional but not dangerous behaviour. The Andrew Holland ( Tiger porn )
case (Section 63(7)(d)) showed that harmless but crude jokes could also result in prosecution.
While both of these cases and others resulted in acquittal, it is unacceptable that the legal profession remains uncertain as to what types of material may get members of the public into trouble. There is emphatic evidence that many lawyers have advised
people to plead guilty to possession offences to avoid the cost involved in trial, despite subsequent examination of the facts revealing that no offence had been committed.
The brutal reality is that lives are being turned upside down, careers destroyed and worse. In the light of the extreme nature of the penalties upon conviction, inclusion on the sex offenders register, lengthy period of incarceration and a heavy fine, it
is wholly unacceptable that the public is denied an unequivocal, precise and detailed statement of that which is legal and that illegal to possess. If it really is impossible for the executive to provide clarity, then legislators must repeal the sections
that cause the greatest difficulty (S63(7)(a) and(b).
Today, Hodge Jones & Allen LLP, acting on behalf of Andrew Holland, has written to The Director of Public Prosecutions explaining that the case against Mr Holland breached his human rights for three reasons.
1. That the term extreme pornography is insufficiently clearly defined in S63 CJIA 2008. It is not clear from the wording and accompanying case law how a potential defendant would be able to understand its scope and foresee the consequence of
2. There is insufficient guidance from the DPP as to when offences under S63 will be prosecuted; and
3. The offence is a disproportionate means of achieving the legislation's intended aims.
Hodge Jones & Allen LLP have asked that the Secretary of State for the Home Department carries out a Human Rights Impact Assessment in relation to S63 CJIA 2008. In the event that the section fails the Human Rights Impact Assessment it is requested
that this be confirmed in writing so that proceedings can be issued by way of judicial review by the Claimant who can then seek a Declaration of Incompatibility by way of a Consent Order. This will allow the Secretary of State for the Home Department to
repeal Section 63 of the Criminal Justice & Immigration Act 2008 by use of the fast-track procedure under Section 10 of the Human Rights Act 1998.
I appeal to you to intervene to ensure that common sense and justice prevail. The harm being caused by S63(7) CJIA 2008 now greatly exceeds any perceived benefits.
Hazel Eracleous Chair, Backlash
Are vague laws allowing police to ride roughshod over legal standards?
The extreme porn law has been the government's preferred means of dealing with online smut for ten years. It was always an accident waiting to happen. For five years, government appears to have gotten away with it, but today's threat, by solicitors Hodge
Allen & Jones to take the law to judicial review if the director of public prosecutions does not explain once and for all what is and is not an offence could be the final straw.
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
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.
Update from Angelus in response to a query about the origins of quotes:
The phrase upper end of the scale may not have been used verbatim in the Commons in regard to the C&JA, but can definitely be inferred from the minutes of the C&JA Commons committee meetings. For example, on day 2, a spokesman for the IWF
said , I understand that the desire of Government, in this instance in particular, is to catch content at the upper end of sadistic levels.
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
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
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.
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.
A man is facing jail over cartoon pictures of Bart Simpson having sex with his sister Lisa and mother Marge. Other images showed Bart having sex with his teacher Mrs Krabappel as well as his best friend Millhouse having sex with his mother.
Andrew Smith, who is a full-time carer for his 87-year-old mother, was found guilty of nine counts of possessing prohibited images of children after 36 sketches, drawings, cartoons and computer-generated images, many showing sexual relationships between
children and older relatives, were found on disks at his home.
All of the images were cartoons, sketches, drawings or CGIs. None were actual photographs.
The jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict after about 40 minutes.
Smith will be sentenced on August 29 at Carlisle Crown Court.
Comment: A Dangerous Path
13th August 2014. From Angelus
t's perfectly normal for me to be shocked and stunned by what I read in the Mail, but this time it was the quotes from the courtroom that left me shocked and wondering what was going on.
The Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (C&JA) is very specific when it comes to the subject of prohibited images of children . These are defined as images that satisfy all the parts of a three part test. So, firstly an image of a child must be pornographic
, which is defined as being of such a nature that it must reasonably be assumed to have been produced solely or principally for the purpose of sexual arousal. Secondly, it must depict one or more of a shopping list of body parts or actions
involving said body parts. Thirdly, it must be criminally obscene, or in the words of the Act, grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise of an obscene character.
Starting with the third test, obscenity, this Act follows the formula first used in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008. This wording caused quite a debate in Parliament at the time, despite Government assertions that it was simply intended to
bring the definition of obscenity into the 21st century rather than materially change it, and to supposedly make it more compatible with Human Rights legislation which required laws to be objective rather than subjective. During its passage through the
House of Lords, the Lib Dems attempted to amend the Act by replacing this wording with a direct reference to the Obscene Publications Act 1959 (OPA). However, this was successfully rebuffed by the Government when a Minister stated that this amendment
could actually widen the scope of the Act. So, we are left with the clear message from the legislators themselves that obscenity within the meaning of the C&JA is to be interpreted no less stringently than the OPA, and possibly even more
stringently. So, referring to the Crown Prosecution Service's guidelines for the OPA, only things like bestiality, realistic portrayals of rape, torture, mutilation and so on are likely to be considered criminally obscene. An image of two people engaged
in non-abusive sex would certainly not be classed as obscene. Of course, possession of a photograph of a child having sex would certainly (and rightly) be prosecuted, but not because it is obscene as such.
The second test is clear in some parts and not so clear in others, but in the case of an image of an adult having sex with a child there is no doubt that it would be satisfied. The first test though relies in a Crown court on the jury to determine
whether an image was produced for the purposes of sexual arousal and is therefore pornographic , but I fail to see how anyone other than, let's just say, a very special sort of person could think that an image of Simpsons sex could ever be
sexually arousing - almost certainly they were produced as a bad-taste joke. However, we then hear the defence stating in mitigation that the accused did not download the images for sexual gratification , which is not relevant, and may even have
misled jury members into believing that it was the motive of the accused rather than the motive of the original artist that they needed to decide on. The Mail article is admittedly a little unclear about exactly what images were being prosecuted because
it states that the police found 36 images of children having sex but only 9 charges resulted, so it's possible the Simpsons ones may not actually have been involved. But if they were involved then I fail to see how could they could have been found to be
illegal as they were clearly not pornographic within the terms of the Act. And if they were among the 27 images that were reckoned to be legal, or at least having a low probability of achieving a conviction, how is it that they could be mentioned
in court? If someone is being prosecuted for, say, stealing jewellery, how can the fact that they have other jewellery in their home that can't be proven to be stolen be used as part of the case against them? I suppose we shall never know exactly what
the images that resulted in the charges were like. Which of itself is rather Kafkaesque, as modern Human Rights-compatible law is supposed to give people a clear idea of what is legal and what isn't.
One thing that really is clear, though, is that if all of these three test need to be satisfied before the law is broken, that also means by extension that they are independent, as otherwise why would it be necessary to specify anything more than the
most restrictive test of the three? This means that if an image of a child having sex is pornographic (so tests 1 and 2 are satisfied), that cannot mean per se that it is also obscene as obscenity is a separate test. And yet here we have a quote from the
prosecution stating There's nothing proper and sensible and indeed certainly not legal about pornographic images of children . As just explained, this is not automatically true. Perhaps that misleading remark influenced the jury, perhaps not,
again we shall probably never know.
Once again, the whole issue of how dangerous drawings prosecutions are conducted is brought into question. Leaving aside for the moment the possibility that nobody involved in this case - police, prosecution, defence or judge - properly understood
the law involved, the C&JA has claimed another victim. Even if we might find the accused and his ideas repugnant, that should not be relevant in the courtroom as the case should be tried on the facts alone, but it seems to me that he was tried just
as much for those ideas as he was for the images in his possession. A photograph of a child having sex (or arguably, even posing erotically) is a record of the criminal abuse of a vulnerable human being, and as such, creating or possessing such a
photograph is rightly prosecuted. However, a drawing, no matter what it is of, is a record of an idea . To criminalise the transmission of ideas is to start down a dangerous path. As the late John Mortimer QC famously put it in his opening arguments for
the defence at the Oz trial in 1971, the defendants then stood at the boundaries of our freedom to think and draw and write what we please. One of those freedoms has now been lost -- how long will it be before the other two are lost as well?
As a postscript, the final irony is that had the accused lived 60 miles further north he would have had no case to answer, because these images that are so filthy, obscene and very disturbing that possessing them is worthy of up to three years in
prison are perfectly legal in Scotland.
14th August 2014. From Alan
This seems utterly bizarre.
Was the bloke represented by a specialist lawyer? Am I right in thinking that the material must be produced for the purposes of sexual arousal?
I could understand someone getting done under this law -- absurd as it is -- for possessing erotic manga/anime with characters having the extremely youthful features which form part of the artistic convention. But the SIMPSONS???? Is anybody going to get
turned on by totally unrealistic yellow people engaging in sexual congress?
A former social worker found guilty of having extreme pornographic images has had his suspension extended.
Stewart Ford was convicted in 2012 for having 50 videos and images on his home computer.
In 2013, the former Essex County Council employee was banned from social work for 12 months. The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) has now extended the suspension for a further year. A conduct and competence committee claimed his fitness to
practise was still impaired because of his conviction.
The council's representative, David Allen, told the panel Ford was trying to appeal against his conviction and this somehow demonstrated that Ford had not yet accepted responsibility for the facts which led to his conviction, the serious and
unacceptable nature of his conduct and how it adversely affects his professional status. He remains in denial, Allen told the panel.
Two men have been convicted of possessing truly disgusting pornography on their mobile phones - despite being sent the material from people they did not know.
Old Bailey judge Paul Worsley QC said the content, found on the phones of respectable defendants Gary Ticehurst and Mark Kelly, was intended for shock value .
The videos and image were later recovered by police after they stopped the defendants on an unrelated matter.
Sentencing the defendants to a conditional discharge but each being made to pay £500 costs, judge Worsley admitted the punishment was lenient but said neither man had solicited the extreme content. But he warned:
You have pleaded guilty to possessing truly disgusting images. It makes a big difference if someone goes out of their way to seek it, or if they're sent it by some mischievous colleague.
In your case it was unsolicited. This is an exceptional case in some ways. The public should not find this carte blanche to possess material of this nature.
Kelly pleaded guilty to one count of possessing an extreme pornographic image likely to cause injury, and three counts of possessing pornographic images involving animals.
Ticehurs admitted one count of one count of possessing an extreme pornographic image likely to cause injury, and two counts of possessing pornographic images involving animals.
Defending himself in court, Kelly said he was sent the material by an unknown person via Whatsapp. He said:
I deleted the videos from my Whatsapp, but I had no ideas they would save to my camera roll. I didn't even watch the full content of the video.
The two friends were caught with the extreme pornography after being stopped by police at Fenchurch Street Station in central London. They included a man pumping air into his disfigured genitals, a man having sex with an amputee (there's nothing in the
Dangerous Pictures act that catches this) and a woman having sex with a horse.
Comment: And MPs said that the law would be only used in a few extreme cases
When this ghastly law was going through parliament we were given no end of rhetoric how this only applied to the most depraved cases. This would only ever catch cases which were so extreme they were in danger of falling off the end of the shelf. The
extreme end of extreme, so to speak. They were very insistent on this.
You remember the impact assessment? Only 12 estimated prosecutions? Thus no significant impact.
We're now running at a thousand cases per year and two guys who thought they'd deleted material they never asked for have just been done.
The lie that was told to parliament has by now become so big, it makes you want to scream.
A man has been jailed for 18 months after being caught selling bestiality porn DVDs for the second time. Robert Cowell admitted to police he dealt in porn DVDs by sending catalogues out to customers, so they could order what they wanted.
In a previous conviction he escaped prison. On that occasion, he distributed the DVDs on an agency basis for a company called Euroscan, who were based abroad.
Now, Cowell has been jailed after pleading guilty to two charges of selling obscene DVDs and two of possessing extreme pornographic DVDs. Locking him up for 18 months, Judge Paul Sloan QC said:
5,000 DVDs depicting pornography were seized. They had been boxed-up according to category. Of those, in the region of 250 to 300 depicted bestiality.
You said you did this because you wished to provide for your family but you were aware what you were doing was both wrong and illegal. This was serious offending. It was a commercial enterprise and the fact you have previous convictions for life
offending is an aggravating factor.
This Xmas tree bill is currently getting the attention of the Lords and a number of amendments have been moved in the past few days.
The amendments to the "rape porn" clause 28 seek to broaden the DPA still further and if enacted would seem to criminalize just about every BDSM image which includes a real looking individual. They would move the offence way beyond the limited
kind of real (highly unlikely) or (overwhelmingly) staged rape images covered by the current bill's wording.
Another brand new clause, 42B, is megalomaniac stuff about "licensing" foreign beamed in hard porn ( presumably leading to attempts to extradite foreign citizens who breach such a UK law?).
The movers of these amendments are:
Baroness Thornton (Labour. LSE Fabianite)
Lord Beecham - formerly Jeremy Beecham of Newcastle city council ( a Labour Justice shadow).
Baroness Thornton, Glenys Thornton, is a Labour member of the House of Lords and is married to John Carr - one of the most outspoken advocates of limiting internet porn to ‘protect the children’.
Beecham's part in all this is of some significant concern. Being part of Labour's justice team it could be here we are seeing the kind of broad brush criminalization using the DPA which would come out of a future Labour government - the possibility of
which is not very distant.
Thornton and Beecham were seeking to remove the "disgusting/obscene" etc part of the DPA. This leaves a far wider amount of material liable to prosecution as 'Extreme Porn' such that softcore and perhaps even sexy horror films could be then be
Thornton's words about "cultural harm" (that is some nebulous subjective concept of the sort which figures so importantly in the sloganizing propaganda of the obsessive agitators - a quite different thing to careful, well researched real world
solid evidence of harm, which should be the basis of all legislation in a rational democracy) illustrates the nasty totalitarian concepts being used bit by bit to create criminal laws.
For the moment Lord Faulks (Conservative. Justice) for the govt politely bins the amendments, which are withdrawn by their sponsors.
Amendment 36B would replace the Government’s amendments to the extreme pornography offence, including the relevant defence, with a broad provision that would criminalise the portrayal of any sexual activity that involves real or apparent lack of consent
or any form of physical restraint which prevents participants indicating a withdrawal of consent. This is very broad. It could have the effect of bringing into the terms of this targeted offence the possession of pornographic images that depict any form
of non-consensual sexual activity.
In the light of the balance that this Government have sought to strike with this offence, we believe that such an extension to the offence would be going too far. It would, I believe, widen inappropriately its scope and could make too wide a range of
sexual activity subject to serious criminal sanction.
Thornton seems to regard not criminalizing all material she and her cronies regard as causes of "cultural harm" as "loopholes", rather than representing limits and balances to counter totalitarian statism.
Lord Faulks points to the ISP filter system as the government's way of addressing access to adult material, including that coming from outside UK jurisdiction.
Thornton asserts it's not working. Has she told Ms Perry yet? Apparently Thornton has "clear evidence" of the harm being done to children by this material. Has she really? So, Thornton and her pals want to supplant/supplement one unworkable
failed system with another.
But for the moment the plans are thwarted and the amendment was withdrawn.
A man has been barred from the committee of an Edinburgh neighbourhood centre after he was convicted for possessing extreme pornography.
Gary Slow, previously a committee member at Bingham Community Centre, was ejected by fellow leaders at a recent annual general meeting, shortly after they were told about the conviction. Slow pleaded guilty at Edinburgh Sheriff Court in November after
unspecified prohibited material was found in his possession, but most likely animal porn.
Senior staff at the centre said they were angry that council authorities failed to inform them immediately and claimed the lack of awareness had affected their ability to do their jobs properly. They also claimed they had been gagged from
disclosing details of the conviction to others because it could lead to Slow coming to harm, presumably from community members with a lynch mob mentality.
Court documents confirm Slow pleaded guilty to the offence of possessing extreme pornographic images after police were given permission to search his home in August 2012. He was issued with a community payback order and told to undertake 120 hours
of unpaid work. His name was also added to the sex offenders register but later recalled after it was decided the offence did not meet the threshold at which full inclusion was necessary.
A source said:
He was there at the meeting and he was told he was barred. We told him, 'you need to leave, we cannot have you here'. I don't want to see the guy murdered... BUT ...he's walking around our community and he's a member of other voluntary
groups and it's just not sitting right.
A 71-year-old man who admitted possessing almost 1,500 extreme pornographic images of bestiality has been given a three year community order that will include attendance at a community sex offender programme and only allow him to live at an address
approved by his supervising officer.
Police found the images on the computer of Alfred Edge when they visited his home, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told yesterday.
Edge, who had no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to possessing 1,460 extreme pornographic images of people involved in sexual acts with animals, and also to possessing a further 27 moving images of the same nature.
Jasvir Mann, defending, told the court: He feels absolute disgrace over these proceedings. He is thoroughly ashamed. He made a serious mistake but even at his age he has the wish and the ability to change. He does not have a computer any more and has
no intention of ever having one again.
Judge John Wait told him during his sentencing: I do not regard it as being in the public interest to send you to prison at the public expense. It will be far better for you to be required to go on a programme that will address this kind of offending.
This is a vile crime.
I suppose sanctimony goes with appointment to the judiciary, but the learned judge's comment that this is a vile crime takes the biscuit. This is a crime magicked up out of nowhere by the Blair/Brown regime in its dying days.
In a Report published today, the Joint Committee on Human Rights welcomes the provision in the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, carried over from the last Session of this Parliament, which extends the current offence of possession of extreme pornography
to include possession of pornographic images depicting rape and other non-consensual sexual penetration. The Committee considers this provision to be human rights enhancing, given the evidence of cultural harm done by such pornography, and acknowledges
the strong justification provided by the Government and others for this proportionate restriction on individual rights.
A religious studies teacher who works at a Birmingham school at the focus of the Trojan Horse controversy has appeared in court charged with possessing extreme pornography.
Nahiem Ajmal was arrested by West Midlands Police and charged with possessing extreme pornography, contrary to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008.
He appeared before city magistrates in February where he pleaded not guilty to the offence. His case was committed to Birmingham Crown Court. The crown court confirmed that Nahiem Ajmal is due to appear for a plea and case management hearing on June 11.
West Midlands Police's Public Protection Unit had arrested four other teaching staff and one youth worker in connection with the inquiry over two days in March but all have been released without further police action.
PC James Addison has been fined £ 6,000 for sending 'obscene' images to colleagues outside Downing Street. He sent videos on his mobile phone, including images of people defecating, found to be in breach of the
Obscene Publications Act while he worked as a protection officer at prime minister David Cameron's home.
He was arrested in December by officers who were investigating the Andew Mitchell Plebgate affair. Addison pleaded guilty to 11 charges. He will face an internal Scotland Yard investigation now that he has received his punishment.
District judge Howard Riddle, sentencing at Westminster Magistrates' Court, said:
Even at a time when the state has retreated to a huge extent in sexual judgment and taste and humour, these images go some way beyond what is legal in this country. These images are very unusual indeed.
Perhaps the greatest harm is that at least some of these images were received and sent while you were working and while you were being paid by the public to carry out a very important task on behalf of the public.
[Then why was he punished for obscenity rather than dereliction of duties?]
A policeman from the squad tasked with guarding the British prime minister's Downing Street residence has fallen victim of the Dangerous Pictures Act and been charged with distributing extreme pornographic images via his mobile phone. The
Dangerous Pictures Act introduced penalties for possessing extreme porn but also increased the penalties for distributing obscene material under the Obscene Publications Act.
Jenny Hopkins of the Crown Persecution Service said:
Following a review of the evidence, we have concluded that James Addison, a police constable in the Diplomatic Protection Group, should be charged with 11 offences. It is alleged that between 17 February 2013 and 6 June 2013, PC Addison distributed
moving images via his mobile telephone, contrary to section 2(1) of the Obscene Publications Act 1959.
The decision to prosecute was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors. We have determined that there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and that a prosecution is required in the public interest.
PC Addison will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 23 April 2014.
Update: Pleading guilty
27th April 2014. From thetimes.co.uk
PC James Addison has now pleaded guilty to one charge of sending an obscene picture and ten other charges
Fascinating to see all these moral high grounders and gender extremists debate the rather unproven harm of porn whilst glorying in the chance to put men in prison. As if this doesn't cause actual massive harm to otherwise law abiding men, their
wives and their children. Not to mention the tax payers who have to foot the hefty bill to trash these people's lives
Public Bill Committee for the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill
Third Sitting, Thursday 13 March 2014
David Austin : My name is David Austin. I am the assistant director at the British Board of Film Classification, responsible for policy and public affairs. The BBFC is the UK's independent regulator of film and video content. We operate
online and offline. Our interest in clause 16 is whether it will have any impact on our classification of sexually violent and abusive pornography, particularly as we are under a legal obligation under the Video Recordings Act 1984 not to classify
any content that is illegal.
Murray Perkins : I am Murray Perkins. I am a senior examiner at the BBFC. I have responsibility for day-to-day classification of pornographic works and a particular expertise in those pornographic submissions.
Committee member Dan Jarvis : Do you think there are examples of sexually violent material that would not be captured by the Bill as drafted?
David Austin : Yes, there are examples of sexually violent material that are not caught by the Bill. There are a number of areas of violent and abusive pornography that are not caught. It might help if I list one or two of those areas.
Clause 16 clearly talks in terms of realistic and explicit depiction of rape in pornography. We deal with quite a large number of pornographic works every year and have done for many years. Some of these feature clearly fictional depictions of
rape and other sexual violence in which participants are clearly actors, acting to a script. These works may include scenes of relentless aggressive abuse, threats of physical violence with weapons and forced acts of sex. Depending on how realism
is interpreted in future -- certainly it has been interpreted very narrowly in the past, but I understand that the Government will amend some of the explanatory notes to the Bill on realism -- that may change.
Another area where we cut porn on harm grounds under the Video Recordings Act relates to abduction scenarios where individuals are shown bound, kidnapped, struggling with bonds, and whimpering -- shown as victims restrained against their will with
no other context. We also cut grooming scenarios which feature the grooming of individuals portrayed as youthful, sometimes youthful and vulnerable --sometimes they may have the appearance of children, although they are not children but adults --
by characters in dominant roles. Animation is another area which we cut. There is a Japanese genre called hentai which is a pornographic genre which features things like incest, underage sex and forced sex. They may be realistically animated but
you could argue that they are not realistic in the terms of the Bill. The fact that animated images can be harmful is already accepted by Parliament in the Coroners and Justice Act where pseudo images of children in sexual abuse situations are
The final area relates to explicit rather than realistic. We remove from pornographic works sexually violent content that in our view is harmful, where, for example, you cannot see the explicit act of penetration but the viewer is led to believe
that this is a rape scenario, albeit acted. We remove that content.
Dan Jarvis : Do you think there would be merit in explicitly referring in the Bill to those extreme types of pornography?
David Austin : One of the things that we need to bear in mind in relation to this Bill is that although clause 16 is tightly defined, the offence is one of possession, and when we cut in the physical world, on a physical DVD, the offence is
one of supply. The Bill is part of a wider approach to aligning protections online and protections offline. We understand that, following a consultation by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport published in July 2013, the Government will
bring forward legislation to deal with exactly the kind of content that I have just described to make this content illegal on UK video-on-demand platforms. That will align our standards on harm, which are based on research, with the standards
applied by Atvod, the Authority for Television on Demand, which is the UK regulator of UK-hosted video on demand. That legislation would cover UK-hosted content that I have just described.
Committee member Sarah Champion (Rotherham) (Lab): Mr Austin, you mentioned as a throwaway that child abuse and child grooming were covered under other legislation. Could you expand a little on that? Is it strong enough as it stands?
David Austin : It was in reference to animation. We have not seen the updated explanatory notes on the Bill -- I do not know whether they have been published yet. The notes that we have seen do not talk about animated content. It is
possible to argue -- do not know how the courts will interpret it -- that animation is not realistic, even though it is getting more and more realistic all the time with computer-generated imagery. CGI images of children and animated images of
children in sexual abuse situations are illegal under the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, so that would take care of animated depictions of child abuse, but it does not take care of animated depictions of rape of adults, for example.
Sarah Champion : But are animated or real films of child abuse and child grooming covered under current legislation?
David Austin : That is covered in other legislation, yes.
Update: Press and politicians pick up on BBFC suggestions to extend the definitions of Dangerous Pictures
David Cameron vowed to ban pornography involving simulated rape and said that online videos would be subject to the same rules as those sold in sex shops.
However. MPs were astounded when David Austin, assistant director of the British Board of Film Classification, revealed that actors who are clearly following a script could avoid falling foul of the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, which
is making its way through Parliament.
As the Bill stands, an image will be banned if it portrays something in an explicit and realistic way . So-called blue films are not, however, usually renowned for their realistic plot lines.
There are examples of sexually violent material that are not caught by the Bill. Clause 16 clearly talks in terms of realistic and explicit depiction of rape in pornography.
Addressing MPs, Labour's shadow crime and policing minister Diana Johnson said:
What the Government is doing is welcome and it's important but at the moment it doesn't go as far as the Prime Minister originally promised. His pledge was to ban material that was so extreme that it would be banned from licensed sex shops.
We're not talking about role-play here but hardcore pornography portraying rape and violent abuse.
In a letter seen by the Sunday Express, Mr Cameron promised to take action to end loopholes by amending the Bill.
It's depressing reading the minutes of the CJCB committee deliberations on the extension to the Dangerous Pictures Act (DPA). The only crumb of comfort for haters of totalitarian law is the government, from what Jeremy Wright the Justice minister
was saying, seem determined that the definitions in the DPA extension remain tight (penetration, in and out, realistic etc), that it conform to the rules applying to the other material covered in the existing act, and there won't be any
category widening to catch even more types of material (he actually mentions the disquiet about the whole policy represented by this sort of law which was expressed in the original DPA consultation by many - though, naturally, he fails to mention
the need for a new offence was rejected overwhelmingly by respondents). Tabled amendments 14, 28 and 29 would make the law very broad indeed. However, they are gone, for now, the amendments were withdrawn.
The Bill committee discussed amendments to extend the definition of banned extreme pornography.
Amendment 14 extended the definition of realistic depictions of rape to include 'simulated' depictions.
Amendment 29 extended the scope of rape from non-consensual penetrative sex to any real or apparent non-consensual sexual activity.
Amendment 28 extended the scope of extreme pornography to include: adults portrayed in such a way as to make them appear under 18; depictions of incest; and sexual activity incorporating sexual threats, humiliation or abuse.
During the debate Sarah Champion called for animated images to be included in the prohibited depictions of rape.
Jeremy Wright, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, spoke for the Government in opposition to the extensions:
I think that we are all conscious of the fact that in discussing the clause and the amendments, we must strike a delicate balance as legislators. We are talking about the most extreme and disturbing images, but also those that, although
distasteful to most, might not warrant the intervention of the criminal law. We must therefore be careful to balance our distaste, and in some cases disgust, against the personal sexual freedoms of consenting adults to behave as they wish without
undue state interference. We must also bear in mind the existing criminal law in related areas.
I think that Ministers and everyone else should be humble enough to accept that we may not have got everything right, but inevitably, wherever we decide to draw the line, there will be disagreement about whether we have drawn it in the right
place. There will be those who say---they have already said it during the course of this Committee's deliberations---that we have not gone far enough on the offence; others will say that we have gone too far. I do not think that there is a good
argument that we have gone too far; we will certainly always consider whether there is further action that we can take.
In relation to the amendments, it may be helpful for me to explain why I do not support the particular direction that the hon. Member for Barnsley Central has taken, but do not for a moment dispute that his intention is to ensure that we have the
right balance, exactly as the hon. Member for Hammersmith set out. I think that I indicated that amendment 14 is unnecessary, given that the clause already covers the depiction of real or simulated non-consensual penetration where that is
pornographic and obscene. To come to the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for South Swindon about what is realistic and what is not, and to deal with what the hon. Member for Barnsley Central said, we intend to reconsider the explanatory
notes to see whether we can bring greater clarity, particularly on the point that the offence we have in mind would cover both staged and real depictions of rape or other penetration. However, I do not believe that the wording in amendment 14 is
the right way to bring that additional clarity.
Amendment 28 would extend the parameters of the existing offence. It would widen the scope of the existing extreme pornography possession offence to cover depictions that appear to portray incest, under-age sexual activity and scenes involving
sexual threats, humiliation or abuse. Now is probably the best time for me to provide some background on the law as it stands.
It is an offence under section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 to possess an extreme pornographic image. Depending on the content of the image, the offence is subject to a maximum sentence of either two or three years'
imprisonment. The offence is narrowly targeted, for good reason. Hon. Members will recall that the original offence was created by the then Government following a full public consultation, and it is deliberately targeted at the extreme end of the
scale. Material prohibited includes pornographic images---images that can reasonably be assumed to have been produced solely or principally for the purpose of sexual arousal---which are grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise obscene and which
explicitly and realistically depict necrophilia, bestiality or violence that is life threatening or likely to result in serious injury to the anus, breasts or genitals.
To conclude my remarks on the development of section 63 of the Criminal Justice Act 2008, during the public consultation, there was considerable concern among respondents and in Parliament that the offence could have a serious impact on people's
private sexual behaviour and personal freedoms. The offence was carefully and deliberately constructed with these concerns in mind. The offence focuses on the high end of the scale---for example, possession of images depicting extreme sexual
violence and serious physical harm. It was never the intention that the offence should be used to censor depictions of all activities that may appear distasteful or that would not, for example, appear in a film classified by the British Board of
As the Committee will be aware, following a recent campaign led by women's groups the Government have decided to extend the parameters of the offence to capture extreme pornographic images depicting rape and other non-consensual penetrative
sexual activity. This is a relatively modest but important extension to the offence. It brings the offence more in line with that applicable in Scotland, but remains focused on the original intent. It is clear from what members of the Committee
have said that there is concern to ensure that children are protected from sexual abuse and exploitation depicted in these images. I understand and share that concern.
I must make it clear that the Government consider the protection of the country's children from sexual abuse a top priority, and we are always open to and appreciative of suggestions to strengthen the law where necessary. However, to extend the
offence to cover depictions of apparent under-age sexual activity is unnecessary. Although images of children are not specifically excluded from the parameters of the Government's extended extreme pornography offence, we already have a range of
offences to cover the possession of indecent images of children, with suitably robust sentencing levels and much lower thresholds for the content of the images themselves. It is, for example, already an offence under the Protection of Children
Act 1978 to take, make or permit to be taken, distribute, or distribute with a view to possession, any indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph--- an image which appears to be a photograph---of a child under the age of 18. These offences carry a
10-year maximum prison sentence.
It is also an offence under the Criminal Justice Act 1988 to possess an indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph of a child under the age of 18. That offence carries a five-year maximum prison sentence. In these cases it is a matter for the jury
to decide on the age of the victim appearing in the images.
Section 62 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 created a new offence to criminalise possession of a prohibited image of a child. That offence attracts a maximum three-year prison sentence. This comes to the hon. Lady's concern. A prohibited
image excludes an indecent photograph or indecent pseudo-photograph of a child, which is covered elsewhere, as I have outlined. In effect, that offence targets non-photographic pornographic images---in other words computer generated images,
drawings and so on---that depict the graphic sexual abuse of children. It follows therefore that images of incest involving children would fall foul of the existing law. So I can assure the Committee that our laws are now fully equipped to deal
with images of the sexual abuse of children.
In addition, although I find the depictions of sexual threats or humiliation and simulated acts of adult incest deeply distasteful, as I am sure does everyone else, there are others---competent adults---who do not share our views. In a liberal
democracy, the law intervenes only when necessary. It would be stretching the definition of necessary to include these extensions. I do not feel that it is appropriate to broaden the terms of the existing offence any wider than the
It is important to state that the extreme pornography offence is one of simple possession, not of publication, dissemination or broadcast. The publication of obscene material is covered by other legislation, including the Obscene Publications Act
1959, but the law should be slow to intervene in simple possession and should do so only where there is a real need. I believe that depictions of rape constitute such a need but that a wider case for prohibition is not made out. I am grateful for
the support shown for our proposal across the Committee, but for the reasons explained I am convinced that it is both unnecessary and inappropriate to extend this offence to cover the images that this amendment would capture. I cannot therefore
Amendment 29 would broaden the scope of the extreme pornography offence to cover the portrayal of sexual activity with real or apparent lack of consent. Again, I am afraid I think the amendment is too broad. I understand the intent, but the
effect would not be as the hon. Member for Barnsley Central wishes. The amendment would have the effect of bringing within the parameters of this tightly drawn offence the possession of extreme images that depict any non-consensual sexual
activity. That would arguably capture relatively low-level sexual contact such as kissing and touching. Of course, we are not here to defend non-consensual sexual activity in any form, but I do not think it is appropriate to target the depiction
of the broader spectrum of such activity in this offence.
Finally, as I have stressed, the Government's proposal continues, in the manner of the original offence, to target the most extreme images and those that cause the most concern. It is not the intention to capture images that could depict
relatively low-level acts. I hope, in view of what I have said, that the hon. Member for Barnsley Central will feel able to withdraw his amendment.
The amendments were withdrawn and Clause 16 was accepted as part of the Bill as written.
the current and soon to be extended prohibitions on 'extreme' porn are inevitably not enough for New Labour. Shadow ministers, Diana Johnson MP, Dan Jarvis MP and Helen Jones MP want more:
A year after the prime minister's announcement we have Clause 16 of the criminal justice and courts bill which will add realistic depictions of rape to the list of banned forms of pornography. While this is a welcome step, we need to be
clear that this falls a long way short of equating offline and online restrictions. The government's proposal will not ban violent pornography that doesn't include penetration (and it's important to remember we're only talking about hardcore
porn, not normal films, documentaries, or art). Nor will the government's plans ban videos where the actress is portrayed as being a child or even depictions of rape which a normal, non-aroused, individual would not find realistic.
This means that hardcore porn showing a woman being raped at gunpoint --crying and protesting throughout -- could avoid the ban if it was badly acted (and, let's face it, isn't all porn badly acted?). It would also mean that a video of a woman
bound and gagged while being assaulted would not be banned unless it also showed penetration, regardless of how realistic it seemed. Nor would it do anything about the increasing number of videos portraying underage sex. These are pornographic
videos featuring women over-18 who look far younger.
Normally these women will be very small, totally flat-chested and have all traces of pubic hair removed. Their immaturity is emphasised by clothes associated with pre-teens and childlike behaviour and speech. These girls are intended to look
pre-pubescent. This is often highlighted by pairing them with male actors in their 50s or 60s who they will have sex with. It looks just like child abuse but it's perfectly legal and readily accessible from Google.
Banning such content would not be about criminalising porn-viewers, but it would be about preventing easy access to material which normalises sexual violence and abuse. Just as internet companies have acted to make it harder to access child
abuse, they need to do the same for extreme porn. Politicians can set the agenda on this.
1. Submitted on behalf of the Sex & Censorship campaign.
2. Written by Jerry Barnett and Dr David Ley, a psychologist specialising in sexuality. Dr Ley's website is at: http://drdavidley.com/ Summary
3. This is a response from Sex & Censorship, a campaigning body, to the non-consensual pornography provisions (Clause 16) in the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill.
4. Sex & Censorship was set up in 2013 by Jerry Barnett, in response to growing concerns over the censorship and repression of sexual expression in the United Kingdom. Jerry has been an advocate for free speech and sexual freedom for a number
of years. We are a non-profit organisation that aims to counter moral panics in the media and campaign for policy-making that is evidence-based and not driven by moral agendas.
5. Clause 16 is an amendment to the existing extreme porn law that was introduced in section 63 of the the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008. We believe that the original law does not serve the public interest, and is draconian, and
that this new amendment will make it worse, and should be removed. In outline, our objections are as follows:
The proposed law results from a moral panic over rape porn rather than any evidence of harm.
Although headlined as rape porn , the wording of the law would criminalise consenting (but perhaps non-standard) sexual activity.
The law blurs the distinction between consensual and nonconsensual sex, and so may hinder, rather than help, attempts to reduce sexual violence.
There has been no evidence presented that viewers of the content in question may be driven to commit sexual violence as a result of viewing it.
Conversely, there is evidence that such content may serve as an outlet for people who are prone to sexual violence and may reduce rather than increase their likelihood to commit harm.
In general, possession laws are draconian as they place an impossible burden of legal and technical knowledge on members of the public.
Censorship itself is harmful to free expression. Censorship laws should, therefore, only be introduced in response to compelling evidence of harm rather than on the basis of moral values alone.
1. Backlash is an umbrella organisation composed of volunteers, which provides academic, legal and campaigning resources in defence of sexual freedom of expression. We support the rights of competent adults to participate in consensual sexual
activities; and to watch, read or create an actual record or fictional interpretation of this in any media. We were established in 2005.
2. Our core legal work has focused on clarifying and challenging the law which prohibits the possession of 'extreme pornography'. Alongside our legal adviser Myles Jackman (a solicitor advocate at Hodge, Jones & Allen LLP), we provided support
in the successful defences in R v Holland , R v Webster and R v Walsh against such charges. Mr Jackman was awarded the Law Society's Junior Lawyer of year 2012-2013 awar
d in recognition of his work challenging the legal framework imposing regressive sexual morality in obscenity cases.
3. The amendment to ban 'rape pornography' risks criminalising more than a million otherwise law-abiding people in the United Kingdom. Nonetheless, there is no evidence of any corresponding public benefit from the proposed prohibition. Conversely
there is a strong risk (based on our experience with the present extreme pornography offences contained within S63 (7) of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008), that any such prosecutions will be disproportionally deployed against sexual
minorities; at significant cost to public funds that could be spent investigating crimes that provably harm the general public.
4. There is a significant amount of bondage themed material catering for those who enjoy submissive fantasies. Fantasy and fictional portrayals of 'forced' sex, which are likely to be the vast majority of images criminalised under the proposed
amendment, are too commonly enjoyed to be reasonably subject to prohibition.
5. Hence we propose the amendment should either be rejected, or limited in scope to only prohibit images that are provably produced in circumstances where there is an absence of consent (either to the acts portrayed in the images or dissemination
of the images themselves).
6. Should the legislation be enacted, we would therefore appeal for absolute clarity in the meaning and operation of the law: to enable the public to identify the difference between an "act which 'realistically' depicts rape" and the
huge quantity of material that depicts sex and bondage.
Evidence of widespread impact on law-abiding citizens
7. Systematic academic research of the consumption of pornography and the prevalence of violent sexual fantasies in the population of the United Kingdom is lacking. However, the most persuasive recent evidence is taken from the British Sexual
Fantasy Research Project: 2007.  Based on a representative sample survey of 19,000 adults in the United Kingdom, it found that: 86% of men and 56% of women had viewed pornography.  29% fantasise about playing a dominant or
"aggressive" role during sex; 33% fantasise about playing a submissive or "passive" role during sex; 4% fantasise about being "violent" towards someone else; 6% fantasise about violence being vested on themselves by
another person. 
8. Thus around 2.2 million men and women have violent sexual fantasies of some kind, and nearly a third of all British adults fantasise about sexual domination and submission.
9. These statistics indicate that the number of men and women interested in fantasy pornographic depictions of non-consensual sexual encounters is likely to be very high. A central, perhaps conservative, estimate might be around 930,000 men and
640,000 women. There is no evidential link to suggest that any of these individuals pose a risk of committing sexual offences.
10. Crucially, fantasy rape scenarios are shared by both men and women, in which neither of whom are established as the passive or dominant participant in such a fantasy sexual encounter. Hence both men and women fantasise about aggressive sex in
both the dominant and submissive role.
11. Yet the argument in favour of criminalising extreme pornography has been characterised as a means of "protecting" women and supporting women's interests and standing in society. The above figures suggest that these claims ignore the
impact of criminalisation on a large number of female viewers of pornography. Since it is widely held that the prosecution and possible resulting punishment of women within the criminal justice system can be particularly damaging, the committee
might be well placed to consider whether exposing the private sexual fantasies of women in Court proceedings could actually lower their social standing.
12. As it can be psychologically and personally destructive for an individual of any gender to have their private consensual fantasies exposed for public scrutiny; such prosecutions should need to be justified only to combat extra-ordinary threats
to the general public.
13. Our work in defending innocent people facing prosecution and trial for offences under S63(7) CJIA 2008 has revealed that a large proportion of defendants give serious consideration to suicide.
14. By way of comparison with existing legislation, fewer than 0.5% of individuals surveyed acknowledged fantasising about necrophilia (S63(7)(c) CJIA 2008), and only 3% acknowledged fantasising about bestiality (S63(7)(d) CJIA 2008.  Hence the
proposed ban on 'rape pornography' extends the reach of this legislation to much more commonly held sexual fantasies.
15. When the criminalisation of possession of extreme pornography was first proposed, Ministers predicted a handful of cases. The Regulatory Impact Assessment that accompanied CJIA 2008 predicted around 30 convictions per annum (at Appendix 1 we
set out MoJ and CPS data on the number of prosecutions). With 1,348 prosecutions in the year 2012/13 alone, we now know that far more cases have been prosecuted than Parliament or the public were led to believe would proceed, with an implied cost
of more than £13 million to the criminal justice system in 2012/2013 (about the same as the total annual budget of the Government Equalities Office).
16. Given the fact that far more people enjoy submissive and domination themed fantasises and the material depicting this, than those who seek the four categories of material prohibited by S63(7) CJIA 2008, the Committee should consider whether
many thousands more people will fall foul of the proposed "rape" category alone.
17. Furthermore, certain 'extreme images' are not possessed for the purpose of sexual arousal (and are therefore not 'pornographic' under the act) but are viewed as jokes in bad taste. Also, they can come into an individual's possession
unintentionally (and sometimes without knowledge) while browsing the Internet for unrelated material (for example via pop-up webpages or malware). Thus the range of people affected by the amendment extends to ordinary Internet users, not just
viewers of pornography with particular themes.
No evidence of harm to public
18. Milton Diamond is an international expert on human sexuality. In a recent evidence review of the effects of pornography on society, he concluded: 'objections to erotic materials are often made on the basis of supposed actual, social or moral
harm to women. No such cause and effect has been demonstrated with any negative consequence. It is relevant to mention here that a temporal correlation between pornography and any effect is a necessary condition before one can rationally entertain
the idea that there is a positive statistical correlation between pornography and any negative effect.' 
19. While the claim that access to pornography harms women is very poorly evidenced, there is some evidence that pornography may have some beneficial effects. Increased access to pornography is associated with decreases in sexual assaults.  The
evidence for no harmful effects on society or women from pornography is a strong finding in the academic literature. The evidence for positive benefits is weaker but indicative. There is a risk that extending the definition of extreme pornography
could lead to more violence against women rather than less.
Evidence of harm to protected minorities
20. The most prominent prosecution under extreme pornography legislation was of barrister Simon Walsh, a former aide to Boris Johnson, whose legal practice had included investigating corruption within British police forces. His career in public
life was severely impaired by a prosecution. His intimate life as a gay man was revealed to the public without his consent.
21. Such prosecutions threaten the reputation of the Crown Prosecution Service as an impartial public servant by showing that gay men risk having their lives destroyed in court over intimate acts which are consensual, safe and commonly practiced
within the LGBT community.
22. The proposed amendment will criminalise material that depicts same-sex material. It will not only criminalise material that depicts women, but also a huge amount of material available that depicts gay sex and sexual penetration with themes of
domination and submission.
23. This highlights a particular problem with defining 'extreme pornography' around the concept of obscenity. Obscenity is not a useful concept for directing how police and prosecutors should make use of the law. The requirement that obscene
material 'deprave or corrupt' the viewer is arcane, and not based on any scientific or psychological test. As a result, law enforcement risks ending up treating 'extreme' as simply a synonym for 'marginal', or non-mainstream material used by
sexual minorities. The Government has not presented adequate evidence showing that sexual minorities will not be subject to a disparate and disproportionate impact from this amendment.
Experience of aberrant use of legislation
24. Backlash arranges advice for members of the public facing charges of possession of extreme pornography under the existing legislation. As we have suggested, the number of people technically in breach of the law is orders of magnitude higher
than those actually prosecuted. The police could not realistically hope to have the resources necessary to investigate this. Instead, cases are passively acquired, often through police investigations of other unrelated allegations; and malicious
25. In our experience, women are at least as likely as men to become the subject of police investigations which threaten to expose their private sex lives in personally damaging ways. We have encountered former partners making malicious
allegations to the police regarding possession of pornography. People who have suffered a falling out in the workplace or in a business arrangement have been subject to abusive threats and allegations regarding their pornography usage and sexual
26. In such cases, the police are often required to investigate, taking up their resources. But since possession of consensual adult pornography is essentially harmless, it means that the police are unnecessarily drafted in to assist the
persecution of an individual to satisfy a private animus.
27. The committee might recall that one of the key reasons for decriminalising homosexuality was not because of widespread moral acceptance of homosexuality (which was to come somewhat later) but because the prohibition had become a 'blackmailer's
charter'. The ban on homosexual acts had not caused people to stop engaging in such acts, but it had exposed many otherwise law-abiding citizens to being branded criminals. Extorting money, or favours, from homosexuals in return for not revealing
their sexual orientation was commonplace. 
28. In extending the regulation of extreme pornography to popular sexual fantasy material, the Government risks reintroducing this sort of scenario and making blackmail over private sexuality a common problem once again.
Proposals for amendment
29. Given the scale of risk associated with this proposed legislation, we strongly advise that this amendment be abandoned. However, the legislation could be focussed more narrowly on genuinely abusive situations where there is actual
non-consensual abuse and harm.
30. It should be noted that when S63 CJIA 2008 was debated in the Lords an assurance was given, in response to concerns expressed regarding the need to properly define the law that guidance would be issued to the public. However clear guidance on
two categories (S63(7)(a) and (b) was never issued. As a consequence the legislation has been used in a way that Parliament never intended (R v Walsh) and hence we appeal to the committee to take this opportunity to repeal S63(7)(a) (life
threatening) and (b) (serious injury). These two categories never have and probably never can be clearly defined.
31. If, despite this evidence, legislation is enacted it is vital that absolute clarity be provided to the public, to ensure that people can clearly determine material which is legal to possess and that which could result in a lengthy custodial
sentence and inclusion on the sex offenders register. The penalties are so extreme that the public must be given absolute certainty and clarity.
A school at the centre of an alleged extremist Muslim takeover has been hit by another scandal as a teacher was arrested over extreme [adult] pornography . Police initiated a raid to coincide with the arrests of another teacher and a
teaching assistant from a different school in the city.
Park View School, whose pupils are almost 100 per cent Muslim, was one of a number of Birmingham state schools said to be targeted by radicals in an underground operation called Trojan Horse , which aimed to undermine head teachers and
ensure schools were run on Islamic principles .
West Midlands Police said the arrests of staff from Park View and Golden Hillock schools were part of a continuing investigation dating back to April 2013.
Following the arrests, Park View Educational Trust issued a statement which read:
The police have informed us that the arrests are in connection with suspicion of possession of extreme pornography. While the nature of the pornography is described as extreme there is absolutely no suggestion from the police that it involved
minors. We would like to reassure parents that we are cooperating fully with the police to support their investigations into individuals at both schools.
Please distribute this notice as widely as possible
On 5 February the government introduced a Bill to Parliament that will extend S63(7) CJIA 2008 to cover the possession of pornography that depicts rape. Unless the proposed legislation is dropped or amended it may have greater implications for the
general public than the first four categories that were originally criminalised. This is because material that depicts rape can be difficult to define. It is believed that it was for this reason that the offence was not included after the original
public consultation in 2005.
However, in 2010 the Scottish Parliament introduced its own possession offence legislation (S42 CJ&L(S)A 2010) which included a category that depicts rape. In the light of this, and recent demands from many feminist and religious groups, that
material that depicts rape be made an offence to possess, the government has brought forward new legislation.
Many CAAN members will be appalled that there really does exist some material that features real rape being committed and this is occasionally shared by exceptionally nasty people. But the publication and sharing of such material is already a
criminal offence. Many of us have no sympathy for those who possess extremely brutal and callous depictions of rape, even those where models have consented to appear as victims , but the current legislation is sloppy, it is poorly drafted
and will impact upon relatively soft bondage and domination themed material. The legislation will also include anything that involves penetration with any object. So, if you were to possess an image of a submissive man, gagged, in bondage, with a
butt plug being inserted, how could you prove that this was not rape? It could well be the case that the lucky man involved is having the best day of his life, but his facial expression might be interpreted by police as pain and the gag as proof
that there was no consent to the act.
Nearly a third of the UK population (British Sexual Fantasy Research Project: 2007), fantasise about types of forced sex, often involving bondage, gags and invariably a dark dungeon. There is a huge amount of porn that caters for this demand, but
anything without a BBFC certificate will be very dangerous to view/possess.
CAAN is doing everything we can to secure a sensible amendment to the legislation to protect those into bondage, submission and/or domination. We are also keen to protect people from prosecution for possession of material that features consensual non-consent
but we fear this will be difficult. To understand more about the theme of consensual non-consent please read this article
Working with the 4 other campaigns (Backlash, Campaign Against Censorship, Sex & Censorship and the Sexual Freedom Coalition) we have warned MPs and peers of the dangers of this legislation, explaining the potential for thousands of harmless
people to have their lives destroyed. The government has pointed to the experience in Scotland and notes that it is believed there has only been one conviction for possession of material that depicts rape. However the government also predicted
that S63(7) CJIA 2008 would only result in a handful of convictions but the reality was very different, with over 1,000 people charged with offences per annum. In the year 2012/13 1,348 people were charged under S63(7) for possession of the
first four categories of extreme porn. By criminalising possession of rape material, a category which will include some sexually explicit bondage and entirely consensual material, a category that will include material in which millions of
people have an interest, it is likely that prosecutions will soar.
Let there be no doubt that we are in engaged in war on two fronts. The state is determined to seize control over the internet and is equally determined to marginalise the lives of those who are into even the mildest forms of BDSM. Evidence is also
mounting that police investigations and prosecutions are disproportionately being directed at the LGBT community. As a consequence we fear that the new legislation poses a serious threat to minority groups and have adopted the stance that if
anything depicts a real rape, where there is no consent, that cannot be tolerated; but anything that is consensual should not be criminalised. Finding a watertight definition or dividing line between the various different categories of material
that exist is impossible and so we oppose the creation of this new category.
Please write to your MP and explain why this is an exceptionally dangerous piece of legislation. Please also write to members of the House of Lords. This step is also important because we believe it is more likely that this part of the legislation
is more likely to be scrutinised in the Lords than in the Commons.
If you have any other suggestions or can offer any assistance please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Criminal Justice and Courts Bill (HC Bill 169) was introduced to Parliament on 5 February. Here is a hyperlink
Criminal Justice and Courts Bill
2nd Reading Debate. 24th February 2014
The extension of the Dangerous Pictures Act to cover simulated depictions of non consensual sex passed 2nd reading with little debate, just MPs queuing up to say a few lines to welcome the new law:
Chris Grayling (The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice ; Epsom and Ewell, Conservative):
The final provisions in part 1 deliver on a commitment that is important to me and the Prime Minister. The Bill will make it a criminal offence to possess pornography that depicts real or simulated rape. I am sure that both Houses will share my
view that such images are wholly unacceptable and that it is right to close this gap in the law.
Sadiq Khan (Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice; Tooting, Labour)
We welcome clause 16, which bans the possession of extreme pornographic images depicting rape. A number of victim groups and experts have called for that change, and the Government and the Justice Secretary should be commended for listening to
My final point on part 1 concerns the new offence introduced in clause 16 that criminalises the possession of pornographic materials depicting rape and non-consensual sexual penetration. I truly applaud the Government's efforts in this regard to
minimise the use and dissemination of extreme pornographic materials, and particularly the work they are doing to minimise the opportunities for children to come into contact with this filth. In my view, however, there can be no benefit to
society or to the individuals involved if persons convicted of sex offences are left languishing in prison without treatment or, worse, released into the community
Bob Neill (Bromley and Chislehurst, Conservative)
I welcome the changes in relation to rape. Pornographic depiction of rape does seem an obvious matter to deal with---Rape Crisis South London in my constituency has done a lot of work on it---and I am glad that that has been recognised. I think
that my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing Central and Acton would agree with me that there may still be gaps in the adequacy of sentencing for other sexual offences, particularly in relation to videos and DVDs of various kinds---we might be able
to look at that in due course---but the change is a valuable step forward that we should all welcome.
Andy Slaughter (Shadow Minister (Justice); Hammersmith, Labour)
We support the ban on the possession of extreme pornographic images depicting rape and other non-consensual sexual penetration. That is a welcome victory for campaign groups such as Rape Crisis South London and the End Violence Against Women
A student has become the latest victim of the Dangerous Pictures Act.
Plymouth Crown Court heard that he found that sexual images involving people and animals were amusing and that he did not realise that humour was now illegal in Britain, particularly that featuring bestiality.
A judge preached to him that it was absolutely disgraceful to look at the computer images.
Andrew Maitland, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said police found 134 images on his laptop computer: He considered them a sin against his Christian religion but he did not realise they were illegal.
The student was on the second year of a four-year business studies and logistics course. He added he had been sponsored by the Nigerian government, which had provided the computer. The laptop has now been confiscated. He had also been suspended
from the course and may not be allowed to continue. But he added that both the university and his sponsors wanted him to continue his studies.
The student has been ordered to perform 60 hours of unpaid work, has been fined £ 150, and had his computer seized
We write to express grave concern regarding S16 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill which will extend the existing ban on extreme pornography (S63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act). This section is poorly defined. It will have
the unintended consequence of criminalising the possession of material that depicts consensual sex, bondage and power-play fantasies common to millions.
Pornography of all kinds has become much more accessible since the Internet has become available to the general public. In that time, the prevalence of sexual abuse has not increased in the United Kingdom and may have decreased. It is
simplistic & mistaken to suggest that pornography is a cause of violence against women. Correlation is not causation. Serious academic studies of pornography and sexual violence (1) show that increased availability of pornography is, in
fact, associated with less violence and abuse.
Fictional and consensual portrayals of submission and domination are a common and popular sexual fantasy, as recently illustrated by the Fifty Shades of Grey novels. Indeed one of the largest surveys ever undertaken in Britain (2) indicated
that nearly a third of us have fantasies about elements of forced sex, with approximately 2.2 million men and women having violent sexual fantasies. With around 90% of men and 60% of women viewing pornography, and with so many enjoying
fantasies of this nature, the danger is that this poorly defined legislation will have a huge impact.
The Bill's Impact Assessment suggests that the number of cases cannot be predicted. When extreme material was criminalised (by S63(7) CJIA 2008) government ministers predicted there would only be 30 cases a year, but the reality was very
different. In the last year for which the MoJ has provided data (2012/13), there were 1,348 prosecutions. Given that the number of people who enjoy material that features sexual bondage and power-play is so high, we fear government will create
thousands of new sex offenders, most of whom will be entirely harmless law-abiding citizens.
There is also a problem with government guidance for the public and prosecutors. Just prior to the enactment of S63(7) CJIA 2008, in response to reservations, the House of Lords was promised that meaningful guidance would be issued to explain
those categories that were difficult to define. This never happened. In fact prosecutors were so unsure of the meaning of the law that there have been some trials of material which we are confident Parliament never intended. For example, the
prosecution of barrister Simon Walsh, a former aide to Boris Johnson, whose legal practice had included investigating corruption within British police forces. His career in public life was ruined by a prosecution. It was rejected by a jury
after 90 minutes deliberation. Prosecutors failed to prove that images depicting consensual sex acts between him and two other gay men were extreme .
The prosecution also threatened the reputation of the Crown Prosecution Service as an impartial public servant by showing that gay men risked having their lives destroyed in court over intimate acts which were consensual, safe and commonly
practiced within the LGBT community. Bad laws do not harm only the individuals prosecuted; they also harm the institutions tasked with enforcing them, and increase even further the costs of the justice system to the taxpayer. This proposed law
will also traumatise large numbers of women and men by having their private sexual fantasies examined and shamed in public.
It is therefore vital that S16 of this Bill be refined to limit the scope of the ban to images that are produced through real harm or lack of consent. Fantasy portrayals of forced/power-play sex are too commonly enjoyed to be reasonably subject
We appeal to you to refine this legislation. We also ask to be permitted to put detailed evidence to Parliament at the committee stages. Finally, we ask if you would be willing to host an event in Parliament, at which representatives could
speak, so that members of both Houses can better understand what is at stake.
1. Pornography, Public Acceptance and Sex Related Crime: A Review: 2009: Milton Diamond 2. British Sexual Fantasy Research Project: 2007. ISBN 978-0-713-99940-2
A number of armed policemen who were assigned to guard Downing Street are being investigated over allegations that they used their mobile phones to exchange extreme pornography, it has emerged.
Three officers were from the diplomatic protection group (SO6), a unit already in the spotlight recently as a result of the Plebgate affair that led to the resignation of cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell, were arrested on 19 December, Scotland
Yard confirmed. A fourth policeman who was not arrested was interviewed on 8 January in connection with the investigation and placed on restricted duties.
The Metropolitan police said that the images identified by the investigation were of an extreme sexual nature but did not involve children and that a file had been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for consideration.
Searches were carried out at the home addresses of the arrested officers, who were questioned at a central London police station. One of them has been suspended from duty while two others have been placed on restricted duties.
Three of the armed police officers assigned to guard Downing Street who were investigated over allegations that they used their mobile phones to exchange extreme pornography will not face criminal charges.
Three officers from the diplomatic protection group (SO6), a unit already in the spotlight recently as a result of the Plebgate affair that led to the resignation of cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell, were arrested on 19 December, Scotland Yard
confirmed. A fourth officer who was not arrested was interviewed on 8 January in connection with the investigation and placed on restricted duties.
Scotland Yard said on Saturday three officers will not face charges but the CPS had yet to make a decision on the fourth officer.
The Criminal Justice and Courts Bill has been published and includes a section extending the definition of extreme porn to include depictions of non-consensual sex.
S63 CJIA 2008 will be extended to include rape material, but the definition looks to be so wide that it might include the majority of bondage related material.
This is the crucial bit: -
Clause 16 will extend CJIA 2008 S 63 (7) legislation by inserting provisions which include: -
16(2)C: after subsection (7) insert---
(7A): An image falls within this subsection if it portrays, in an explicit and realistic way, either of the following: -
(a). an act which involves the non-consensual penetration of a person's vagina, anus or mouth by another with the other person's penis, or
(b). an act which involves the non-consensual sexual penetration of a person's vagina or anus by another with a part of the other person's body or anything else, and a reasonable person looking at the image would think that the persons were
(7B): For the purposes of subsection (7A): -
(a): penetration is a continuing act from entry to withdrawal;
(b): vagina includes vulva.
16 (3): In section 66 (defence: participation in consensual acts): - a. before subsection (1) insert---
(A1): Subsection (A2) applies where in England and Wales: -
(a): 5a person (D) is charged with an offence under section 63, and
(b): the offence relates to an image that portrays an act or acts within subsection (7)(a) to (c) or (7A) of that section (but does not portray an act within subsection (7)(d) of 10that section).
(A2): It is a defence for D to prove---
(a): that D directly participated in the act or any of the acts portrayed, and
(b): that the act or acts did not involve the infliction of any non-consensual harm on any person, and
(c): if the image portrays an act within section 63(7)(c), that what is portrayed as a human corpse was not in fact a corpse, and
(d): if the image portrays an act within section 63(7A), that what is portrayed as non-consensual penetration was in fact consensual.
My reading of this is that it is for the defence to prove that that any act was consensual. If it looks non-consensual (and a large proportion of bondage material will be interpreted that way) then the person found to be in possession of such
material will have to prove that the act was in fact consensual.
The Impact Assessment
There is an impact assessment
which provides more information, but some of it is misleading (for example 1. the justification is said to be the desire to reduce violence against women and 2. an inference might be drawn from the 1 case that is believed to have been
prosecuted in Scotland). The reality is that in England thousands of people have been caught out by S63(7) and thousands more will now fall foul of the new law.
Page 7 of the IA suggests that there will be some protection but I can't see any: -
28. There are minor risks that anti-censorship groups could see this step as an infringement on private consensual sexual activities, for example staging consensual acted rape scenarios. However, we intend to provide a limited defence to
address some of these concerns. Alongside this the measure is likely to be well received across Parliament and a range of women's rights groups in particular.
29. We also intend to make available for the purposes of the images covered in the extended offence, the existing defence for participants possessing images of themselves, provided that no harm was caused to any participant, or if harm were
caused, it was harm which was and could be lawfully consented to.