R v Peacock
Michael Peacock has been acquitted of all charges after a unanimous jury decision to find Peacock not guilty on 6 counts of obscenity.
Michael Peacock (referred to in the gay porn world as Sleazy Michael) had been charged for distributing supposedly obscene DVDs including representation of gay fisting, urolagnia and BDSM.
The trial was heard before the Southwark Crown Court. The films in question feature: gay fisting (the insertion of five fingers of the fist into the rectum of another male); urolagnia (in this case men urinating in their clothes, onto each others'
bodies and drinking it); and BDSM (in this case hard whipping, the insertion of needles, urethral sounds and electricaltorture ). Also there was an example of a staged non consensual scene.
The Obscene Publications Act 1959 features the contentious and ambiguous deprave and corrupt test, whereby an article (for example a DVD) is obscene if it tends to deprave and corrupt the reader, viewer or listener. The Test is defined
in Section1 of the Act as:
An article shall be deemed to be obscene if its effect or (where the article comprises two or more distinct items) the effect of any one of its items is, if taken as a whole, such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are
likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it.
Peacock was represented by Nigel Richardson and Sandra Paul of Hodge Jones and Allen
Myles Jackman, a solicitor specialising in obscenity law, said this outcome was a significant victory for common sense suggesting that the OPA has been rendered irrelevant in the digital age .
In a tweet, Jackman said that SCD9, the Metropolitan Police unit dealing with human exploitation and organised crime, will meet with the Crown Prosecution Service and the British Board of Film Classification to review guidelines on obscenity.
And of course the authorities will be considering whether the law itself now needs changing. No doubt nutter campaigners will now be pushing for something new to replace the OPA now that it no longer supports their censorial views.
Speculation: So what may be the outcome at least in terms of BBFC censorship of R18s?
The BBFC have been cutting all such material citing the current interpretation of the Obscene Publications Act. But now of course this will change. The
BBFC will still be at liberty to cut scenes off their own bat. And indeed the board has been regularly cutting scenes involving penetration by objects that could possibly result in harm justified via its own guidelines.
I think there will be a few changes welcomed by all sides. The current prohibition of female squirting leaves everyone totally baffled as to why. This prohibition can now be rapidly dropped. Perhaps urolagnia can now be generally allowed albeit
with restrictions when it is considered by the censors to be degrading.
Perhaps something similar with fisting which could be generally allowed with a proviso that it must not be seen to be causing any discomfort to those participating.
The BDSM issue is not going to be easy. The current ban is at least easy to explain. To allow any level of hurt beyond trifling may prove very difficult to define. Maybe it is still banned by legislation examined during the notable Spanner Case,
the judgement of which basically disallows people from giving consent to be hurt. So perhaps the BBFC will just switch justifications but continue to ban BDSM.
And I don't suppose that the non-consensual scene will impact BBFC guidelines at all. This will no doubt continue to be banned from R18s.