Melon Farmers Original Version

UK Legal News


2011

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16th November   

Victim of British Prostitution Law...

Fined 29,000 for running a brothel in Wokingham
Link Here

A man has been fined more than 29,000 for managing a brothel. he had already been given a 12-month suspended sentence, a 12-month community order and 240 hours of unpaid work after pleading guilty to a charge of managing a brothel for prostitution back in April.

The victim must pay exactly 29,510 within six months of face a default 15-month prison sentence.

 

15th November   

Victim of British Prostitution Law...

Jailed for 9 months and fined 68,000 for running a brothel
Link Here

A woman from St Albans who ran a brothel has been ordered to pay 67,840 under the Proceeds of Crime Act. She was sentenced at Luton Crown Court in March this year for managing a brothel and money laundering offences. She had pleaded guilty and was given nine months imprisonment.

On November 2 the case was back at Luton Crown Court for the confiscation hearing.

The brothel was run from a flat in Old Watford Road in Bricket Wood, where workers were based and would pay a cut of their earnings.

 

11th November   

A Date with Miserable British Law...

A year's jail for running a dating agency cum brothel
Link Here

A Plymouth couple who made 200,000 in eight months by running brothels under the guise of an Asian dating agency have been jailed.  They ran establishments in Plymouth and Torquay.

The brothels used women from China, at least one of whom was an illegal immigrant who was deported after her visa expired, but there was no suggestion of any trafficking. Williams set up a website and the couple sent prostitutes to customers' homes for an enhanced fee.

The couple admitted two charges of brothel keeping and they were both jailed for 12 months by Judge Graham Cottle at Exeter Crown Court. He told them:

For eight months you ran two properties simultaneously from which the business of prostitution was carried out.

It is impossible to quantify accurately the amount of money involved and the police have tried to calculate the level of cash involved, but it is inescapable that 30,000 was sent to China.

The financial gain is an aggravating feature. For a significant period you were successfully operating two brothels.

 

6th November   

A Lack of Perspective...

Nine months jail just for letting sex workers use his flat
Link Here

A Thai student who allowed his upmarket flat in Edinburgh to be used as a brothel was sentenced to nine months in prison.

The student who travelled to the UK on a student visa, allowed the Castle Terrace flat to be used by Thai women who used it as a brothel, the court heard.

He had pleaded guilty at the city's Sheriff Court earlier this month that being the tenant, lessee or occupier he knowingly permitted the premises or any part of it to be used as a brothel or for the purposes of habitual prostitution.

Sheriff Paul Arthurson said: You have pled guilty to a serious charge. I am satisfied that I can impose a backdated custodial sentence for a duration of nine months.

 

2nd November   

Updated: Extreme Charges...

Bala man falls victim to the Dangerous Pictures Act
Link Here

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

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

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

Update: Sentenced

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

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

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

 

17th October   

Ten Years...

Traffickers jailed for forcing girls to work as prostitutes in Chelsea and Earls Court
Link Here

A couple who trafficked young women into the UK and forced them to work as prostitutes in Chelsea and Earls Court have been jailed.

Sergey Konart was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and Ekaterina Kolesnikova to two and a half years after admitting a series of charges including trafficking and controlling prostitution.

Southwark Crown Court was told how Metropolitan police from the Human Exploitation and Organised Crime Command arrested the pair in December after raiding five properties - two in Chelsea, two in Queensway and one in Earls Court.

The pair, who were operating as part of a Russian and European organised criminal network, recruited vulnerable young Eastern European women ,promising them well-paid work as waitresses, shop assistants or dancers. Once in the UK, they took the girls' ID and travel documents. They then held the girls to a debt bond of up to £ 80,000, which they forced them to pay off by working as prostitutes, charging clients up to £ 200 a visit. The girls were threatened with violence and plied with ecstasy and cocaine to gain compliance.

 

16th October   

Extreme Sentence...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

10th October   

Updated: Scotland Can't Find Any Trafficking...

So it seems that the authorities have to make it up
Link Here

The Scotsman writes:

Police have vowed to eradicate human trafficking after securing the first sentencing for the crime in Scottish history.

Stephen Craig was jailed for three years and four months for arranging travel, accommodation and advertising for 14 women.

His co-accused, Sarah Beukan, was jailed for a year and a half for her part in his human trafficking network.

Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland called it a landmark case , while Detective Inspector Stephen Grant said it should act as a warning to others who are involved in this abhorrent way of life that we are coming to get you .

BUT... then proceed to describe the case further explaining that

Sheriff Sam Cathcart accepted that no pressure or force or threat was directed at any of the individuals involved.

The 23 sex workers involved with Craig's business were from Brazil, Bolivia, Nigeria, Fife, Glasgow, Inverness, Airdrie and elsewhere in the UK. Craig had no part in bringing in the girls in from abroad.

In fact is believed the prostitutes were previously working independently as sex workers before being recruited by the pair.

Craig merely arranged accommodation and travel for the girls to work in his business. Pre-paid credit cards were used to transfer money and pay for the rental of properties, so the women would not carry cash when they travelled. They also provided accommodation for them to work from, put advertisements in newspapers and online.

In return for this, the sex workers gave Craig a reasonable one third of their earnings.

Craig and Beukan had been running four brothels in Glasgow, at Argyll Street, Wallace Street, Newton Terrace, and Clyde Street. They also ran a brothel in Aberdeen, at James Street, and one in Queens Square, Belfast.

But the prosecutors had the last nasty words:

Sheriff Sam Cathcart told Craig and Beukan there was no alternative to custody. He said that, by their actions, they had exerted control, direction or influence over the movements of the women, but accepted that no pressure or force or threat was directed at any of the individuals involved.

DI Grant, of Strathclyde Police, said that Craig and Beukan were despicable individuals . Human beings are not products which can ever be bought and sold, and this will never be tolerated.

Frank Mulholland, QC, said: This is a landmark conviction for human trafficking in Scotland and represents the success of close working between police and prosecutors across the UK.

Offsite Comment: Is there really a sex-trafficking epidemic?

10th October 2011. See  article from  heraldscotland.com [turn off javascript to skip registering]

Last week Stephen Craig and Sarah Beukan, the first people to be convicted of human trafficking in Scotland, were given the short jail sentences of 40 months and 18 months respectively.

For many of those who followed the case -- which exposed a vice ring that moved prostitutes round the country, between brothels in Glasgow, Belfast and Aberdeen -- it seemed a puzzling conclusion.

In the lead up to the sentencing there were reports of threats and intimidation; a police debriefing described how one witness said Craig had threatened to pour boiling water down her throat . But last Monday, based on the facts provided to him by the Crown, the presiding sheriff stated that there was no pressure, force or threat on the women. Rather, the pair pled guilty to, and were convicted of, arranging travel, accommodation and advertising for around 15 prostitutes.

It was an offence that was hardly, as Ken Waddell, the solicitor for Stephen Craig points out, what most people consider to be trafficking.

...Read the full article

Update: Fined £ 45,000

19th July 2012. See  article from  scotsman.com

A man convicted of running a brothel (with an unlikely sounding link to trafficking) has been ordered to pay £ 45,000, the Crown Office said.

Lindsey Miller, head of the serious and organised crime division of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, said: Stephen Craig took part in a criminal prostitution operation that spanned the United Kingdom. Today's confiscation order for £ 45,000 represents the full amount which is available to us at this time from Stephen Craig.

 

15th September   

Miserable Bristol...

Two and a half years for running a brothel
Link Here

A woman who ran a brothel has been jailed after continuing to trade despite repeated warnings and raids from the police.

Si Man Chan was first warned about running a massage parlour in Lodge Causeway in 2007, then given a written warning to shut up shop in January last year, Bristol Crown Court heard. But four months later undercover policemen posing as punters visited the premises and found sexual services still on offer.

Chan pleaded guilty to keeping a brothel for the purposes of prostitution between January 20 and June 4 last year, and converting criminal property between November 2006 and June last year. Her partner Brian Davies also pleaded guilty to keeping a brothel and converting criminal property.

Chan was jailed for two-and-a-half years and Davies was given a 12-month suspended sentence, with 240 hours' unpaid work.

In July 2007 Avon & Somerset police searched the premises and found Chan with two women who were illegal immigrants. A regional crime squad called Operation Zephyr became involved in the investigation and worked with HM Revenue and Customs, South Wales Police and the Metropolitan Police. Another search was conducted in January last year by policemen from Gloucestershire and the Met.

One woman told them she was working at the brothel because she was in debt bondage to an unknown man in Chinatown, and was moved around the UK to work as a prostitute. But in court, Timothy Rose, defending Chan  stressed the case was not about people trafficking and there was no evidence of sex workers being threatened or coerced.

A hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act, to confiscate the cash made by the couple will take place next month.

 

11th September   

Seymore's World...

Unlicensed video shop assistant banned from the West End
Link Here

A man has been banned from the West End after he was caught working as a shop assistant in a Soho porn store.

Edward Squire-Eveleigh was arrested a day after being fined for selling unclassified pornography in the same unlicensed video shop, Seymores in Walkers Court, off Brewer Street.

Victoria Forbes, prosecuting, told City of Westminster Magistrates' Court that the teenager was the only person in the store when police raided it on March 24 this year.

They arrested him and seized a total of 1,065 DVDs, six of which were sent to the BBFC to see if they had been certificated. None had certificates and all were pornographic.

She said that just a day earlier Squire-Eveleigh was fined £ 500 for exactly the same offence .

Cassandra Bligh, defending, said he had only gone back to work in Seymores to earn money to pay off the fine, adding: It was foolish and he accepts that.

Squire-Eveleigh admitted six charges of possessing unclassified video recordings for supply and was banned from the entire City of Westminster for six months from September 5. He was also ordered to pay £ 85 costs.

 

5th September   

Trafficked to Jail...

4 traffickers jailed
Link Here

A man at the centre of a human trafficking and prostitution ring in Norfolk has been jailed for 11 years by a judge at Norwich Crown Court.

Nerijus Lekecinskas had been found guilty of trafficking a young Lithuanian woman before forcing her into prostitution.

Another man, Skirmantas Kvedaras, was jailed for six years.

Both he and Lekecinskas were found guilty on one count of rape

See  article from  bbc.co.uk

Two men from Oxfordshire have been jailed for trafficking women and using them as prostitutes.

Anastassios Papas was given a seven-year sentence, plus four years on licence.

Graham Cochrane received five years for his involvement in trafficking women.

The case at Oxford Crown Court was brought after concerns were raised about their Oxford escort agency Fun Girls.

Passing sentence, Judge Gordon Risius said Papas and Cochrane had taken advantage of vulnerable girls who had come from Eastern Europe and exposed them to a degrading and often risky business.

 

1st August   

Since When have Orgies Been Obscene?...

Newsagent jailed for selling supposedly obscene mail order DVDs
Link Here

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

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

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

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

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

 

16th July   

Harrowing Drawings...

First trial under the Dangerous Drawings Act
Link Here

A man who led the Paedophile Information Exchange, admitted charges relating to 3,000 drawings found at his south London home.

The drawings found at the man's home, where the group met, were described at the Old Bailey as vile and disgusting . Police found he had been drawing images of children being raped. The harrowing drawings were said to be amongst the worst seen by police.

The trial was the first under the 2009 Coroners and Justice Act which includes sketches among indecent images.

Police also found about 14,500 pictures and films on computer disks at the home of the man and two of the other defendants. Tens of thousands of images were stored on encrypted hard-drives, officers believe.

The man pleaded guilty to 10 specimen charges of possessing incident images, three charges of distributing the material and one count of failing to disclose the password for an encrypted computer. He was given an indeterminate term for public protection with a minimum term of 30 months.

The other defendants were given prison sentences from 12 to 24 months.

Comment: In the shadow of more serious offences

From Angelus

So, the first prosecution under the "Dangerous Cartoons Act" was successful. And as usual in these matters, the police and the CPS have started with the low-hanging fruit. Given the gravity of the other offences these people were charged with, there is no doubt that no questions were raised about the legality of the Coroner's and Justice Act's provisions to criminalise the possession of drawings with respect to universally accepted and understood principles of freedom of conscience.

A drawing is a record of a thought, an idea, and the freedom to think and to communicate ideas is essential in a free society. It does not and should not matter that the thought itself may be repugnant to the vast majority of people - what matters should be the right of people to think what they choose and to communicate those thoughts. If those thoughts then lead to actions then full weight of the law should rightly descend upon them, but the transmission of ideas, even repugnant ones, should and must remain a fundamental right.

 

6th July   

Update: Dangerous DVDs...

Suspended jail sentence for mail order porn business
Link Here

A man was given a suspended prison sentence for selling gay porn DVDs from his Leeds home. He had advertised his DVDs in gay magazines during seven years of running the mail order operation. He sold them for between £ 5 and £ 8 each.

Leeds Crown Court heard police discovered around 1,500 DVDs during a raid on the man's home.

At Leeds Magistrates Court in March, the man admitted using a premises as a licensed sex establishment and five offences of possessing unclassified video recordings for purposes of sale.

Handing the man a six month prison sentence suspended for two years and 150 hours unpaid work, Mr Justice Butterfield told him: The persistency in which you carried out this business suggests to me you require a clear indication from the court of what is going to happen if you were unwise enough to continue to offend in this way.

A confiscation hearing will be held at Leeds Crown Court at a later date to determine how much the man profited from the business.

 

11th May   

Hot and Steamy...

3 jailed over brothels at London saunas
Link Here

Three members of a family have been jailed for their part in a brothel business.

Clyde Standing, his wife Lyubov, and Clyde's son James were sentenced at Croydon Crown Court after setting up and running three saunas which were in fact brothels.

The group from Essex also ran a fourth unconcealed brothel out of a residential flat above shop premises.

The east London venues were open 24 hours a day and exclusively employed women from Eastern Europe, predominantly of Romanian nationality. A total of 17 women were found at the premises and subsequently referred to victim reception centres. [no suggestion of trafficking though]. Throughout the course of their employment they were expected to work 24-hour shifts, with their time often divided between two of the venues.

The three were sentenced for conspiracy to control prostitution. Clyde Standing was given 18 months imprisonment. Lyubov Stending and James Standing were both given 12 months imprisonment.

 

10th April   

Update: Reprehensible Policing...

Hanna Morris given suspended sentence as 'reward' for helping police to protect sex workers from violent thuggery
Link Here
Full story: Policing Sex Work...Sex workers put in danger by police

Three people who ran a number of brothels across Surrey have been convicted of running brothels.

Ms Morris, together with her partner Michael Jones and their friend Valerie Coster, had all admitted to running the Cloud 9 brothel in Constitution Hill, Woking as well as sites in Guildford and Camberley

Morris was given a 12-month sentence suspended for 2 years and was also ordered to carry out 240 hours of unpaid work. Her partner, Michael Jones was also sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work for four counts of using criminal property in connection with the keeping of a brothel.

Valerie Coster received a 16-week jail term, suspended for 12 months, after pleading guilty to assisting in the management of a brothel. She was made the subject of a 12-month supervision order, with the requirement of carrying out 120 hours of unpaid service.

All three entered guilty pleas after failing in an abuse of power case against Surrey Police.

Morris and Jones were arrested when Morris made a 999 call after two men burst into a Woking flat used by Cloud 9. The men were armed with what was thought to be shotguns, and poured petrol around the Park Heights apartment.

Police cordoned off the street as they investigated the matter, only later were Ms Morris and the other defendants arrested on suspicion of brothel keeping.

The court heard how Hanna told officers where her other brothels were as she believed the attackers were heading there and wanted to ensure the women working in them were safe.

All three had their sentences suspended after Judge Suzan Matthews QC described their circumstances as unique . Sentencing, Judge Matthews, said: You were a keeper of brothels and made substantial profits from it. This was a substantial brothel keeping.

 

28th February   

Unfair Conviction for Possession of Readily Available Books...

CPS throw the book at extreme porn victim
Link Here

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

13th February   

Counterfeit Conviction...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

8th February   

Trafficked to Altrincham...

Brothel keeping sentences and pay backs
Link Here

Ian Barnett ran brothels in Altrincham, Cheetham Hill, Levenshulme and Shudehill. He pleaded guilty to four counts of keeping a brothel used for prostitution, three counts of conspiracy to keep and manage brothels for prostitution and one count of controlling prostitution for gain in 2008 and was jailed for three years and eight months.

Barnett, who had previously been convicted of a similar offence in 2005 and was on a suspended prison sentence, was charged following a report from a 19 year-old Lithuanian woman who was trafficked into the UK by an Albanian crime gang and forced to work in the brothel at Shudehill.

His wife, Michelle Barnett was also sentenced in 2008 to six months' imprisonment, suspended for two years, after being found guilty of laundering £ 9,000 of the brothel takings.

A Proceeds of Crime Act hearing at Manchester Crown Court Crown Square on Wednesday February 2, found that the Barnett's had made more than £ 5.25m from their crimes. Ian Barnett was ordered to pay £ 4,000, and Michelle Barnett was ordered to pay back £ 250,890 within 12 months or face three months and three years respectively behind bars.

 

6th February   

Extreme Punishment...

Lost job, kids taken away and community service
Link Here

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

24th January   

Dangerous Top Up...

Extreme porn used to top up blackmail conviction
Link Here

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

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

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

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

 

24th January   

Sexed Up...

24 weeks suspended jail sentence for running brothel
Link Here

In what sounds like a sexed up local newspaper article, it appears that a couple were have been convicted of running a brothel. The article picks up on associations with trafficking but these doesn't seem to have been born out by the light sentence.

Mark Newbold and his wife Suwadee were given a 24-week sentence suspended for 12 months and ordered to complete 150 hours unpaid work each.

The husband and wife were arrested following raids on houses in Reading and Northampton by UK Border Agency. Officers were investigating allegations that women were being controlled by them and moved around the country as prostitutes and took three women, from Thailand, Lithuania and Brazil, into care.

At an earlier hearing in November last year both had admitted two counts of controlling prostitution for financial gain.

John Donachy, UK Border agency spokesman, said: The Newbolds clearly exploited the women who worked in their premises for substantial personal financial gain. Some of these women had been moved around the UK specifically to work in the sex industry. A financial investigation is also underway to ensure they don't profit from their crimes.

 

20th January   

Chinese Remedies...

A year in jail for running 3 brothels in East Anglia
Link Here

A businesswoman who ran a string of brothels in Norfolk and Suffolk has been jailed for a year.

Norwich Crown Court heard how the brothels were set up between 2006 and 2008 at the Cavendish Hotel in Princes Road, Great Yarmouth, and a Chinese herbal medicine shop in Upper Orwell Street, Ipswich. A third brothel operated out of a house in Chalk Hill Road, Norwich.

Shu Quin Wang admitted conspiracy to manage brothels and was jailed for 12 months. Her brother Jian Zhane Wang was found guilty of money laundering for the operation and was jailed for eight months. Pin Yo Wang. from Newport, who admitted conspiracy to manage brothels, was fined 12,000, which was cash seized on her arrest by police.

The judge accepted that none of the girls working in the brothels had been coerced into prostitution.

 

7th January   

Updated: Safeguarding the Decency of Society...

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

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

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

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

Darron Whitehead prosecuting said:

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

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

The trial is continuing.

Update: Not Guilty

7th January 2011.

Labour nazi war room

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Update: Mock Erotic Murder Scenes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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