Released 7 Jan 2011
Schlock Horror! Jury acquits fantasy porn defendant
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, (1) was found not guilty of possession of extreme pornography (2) 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 mostly female 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 (3), 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.”
A Backlash spokesperson, (4) 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.
Notes for editors
(4) Backlash http://www.backlash-uk.org.uk/ is an umbrella organisation providing legal, academic and campaigning resources defending freedom of sexual expression.
For further information, or for immediate or future interview , please contact:
Myles Jackman on myles ampersand backlash-uk.org.uk