Sometimes something is so wrong it’s difficult to know where to start.
A few years ago I was involved in a political campaign against section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008..it was possible that section plus some more… but that was the focus.
Also known as the ‘extreme porn law’ or ‘dangerous pictures act’.
I wrote a newsletter for CAAN (Consenting Adult Action Network) and we made national press demonstrating outside parliament along with Ben Westwood (Viv’s son) and some scantily clad models in chains.
At the time my partner was probably the only person writing about the law in any depth at a national level.
It’s a law that I still believe is a serious assault on civil liberties, freedom of expression and of consenting adults to do what the heck they like in the privacy of their own homes.
Once the law went live I spent the first year helping to compile a database of cases that made it into court… very few of them made national press and almost all of them were in combination with other offences… mostly child porn, but also drug offences, burglery… all sorts. The police were using it as an ‘also ran’ offence for anyone who had their computer or mobile phone taken away from them and checked.
It’s hard to oppose a law that is so closely associated with child abuse pictures.
But the actual difference between the two laws is huge…. one word… but its a biggy…
There have been cases of note, perhaps most reported North Wales police trying to prosecute someone for having a cgi tiger having sex with someone on their mobile phone… not just a cgi tiger… a talking cgi tiger. The sort of joke clip that thousands of young men have on their phones…. but for one young man with a vindictive ex partner it wasn’t a joke.
He lost his home, job and access to his kids…all before it came to court.
In fact he’d decided to plead guilty…but with support from CAAN got his story into the press found a specialist lawyer (Myles Jackman) and was persuaded to change his plea.
But time moves on…. the research I do for Jane has moved on to follow her writing and I sort of lost track of the ‘extreme porn law’ …life has been rather full on the personal front these last couple of years.
But today I was immersed again following a case on twitter which is being tweeted live from court by Myles Jackman aka the Obscenity Lawyer (the live tweeting from court is fairly groundbreaking too).
The main thrust of this case seems to be images of fisting (an act so mainstream its mentioned I believe in ’50 shades of grey’) [not that i’ve read it….on literary principle].
The accused is himself a barrister, in fact an ex-aide of Boris Johnson… in the original news story of his charges he gets smeared with ‘child porn’… in actuality one of the ‘extreme’ images he viewed involved a young man the police couldn’t say for ‘definite’ was over 18.
Not quite the buggery of a six year old we tend to imagine when we see the words ‘child porn’ huh?
And when I say viewed on his computer…. these weren’t images he had trawled the web for… his computers were clean.
These were attachments to emails he had been sent.
I’d say thats pretty scary.
As I said before the main thrust of the case are pictures involving (anal) fisting… a popular past time amongst the slacker members of the gay community… and Mr Walsh is openly gay.
Its an act that is perfectly legal if not to all our tastes.
But he made the mistake of receiving an email attachment and may or may not even have looked at a picture of that act.
Oh…and he made one other mistake…. some of his work in the past has been in exposing corrupt police.
I hope the case goes well for Mr Walsh…its anticipated to last all week at Kingston Upon Thames Crown Court and is beeing tweeted about using #porntrial.