Wednesday, August 08, 2012

#PornTrial - verdict of 'Not Guilty!'

Today, Simon Walsh was found not guilty of breaking UK law. 

The crime he was accused of? The simple act of possessing personal photographs of himself and his friends engaged in Fisting and Sounding play. Despite both acts being legal sexual activity here in the UK, the Crown Prosecution Service considered the images to be 'extreme' and the sharing of these images with his friends 'liable to corrupt and pervert'

In a legal first, the defendant's solicitor was given permission by the Judge to live tweet the trial - and the proceedings have been trending on twitter under the #PornTrial tag all week. Background to the case can be found at ObscenityLawer's blog - and there has already been several excellent commentaries on the trial and the verdict from BLUF, Backlash, the New Statesman, the GuardianPolitics.co.uk, and Gary's Law blog. Both Simon and his solicitor are also expected to comment on the case in tonight's Newsnight.

Simon was finally acquitted, but the prosecution itself has lost him both his legal career and his professional standing.  

The case matters to us all because it was only the most recent brought by the CPS where they have attempted to use both the Obscene Publications Act and the amended Criminal Justice and Immigration Act to censor sexual freedoms and the discussion of personal sexual fantasies. 

During the trial the CPS continually tried to represent fisting (and all forms of BDSM) as a form of extremely degrading and violent sexual depravity, liable to lead to physical and emotional harm. They also tried to suggest that those who partake in BDSM only do so for the enjoyment of pain and personal risk - and that images of these activities corrupt the innocent viewer into trying to imitate these 'dangerous' acts. They even suggested that only the sick and infected would ever need or wish to attend sexual health clinics (the source of one of the surveys on Gay sexual health used by the Defence team).

Whilst we may not all wish to engage in the same activities as Walsh or Peacock did, surely such censorship has no place in a diverse and inclusive society such as we wish to be.  Even moreso, it is extremely disturbing that the CPS seems intent on pursuing a prudish application of a thoroughly flawed and badly written law...


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