Andrew Holland, a man from Wrexham, was charged under Section 63 of the 2008 Criminal Justice and Immigration Act. He was accused of possessing a short video showing a woman having sex with a tiger. A friend had sent it as a joke. He had watched six seconds of it. Predictably, the case toppled over as soon as the court heard the tiger – actually a man in fancy dress – inform the camera: “That beats doing Frosties ads for a living!”
Despite the farcical nature of the case against him, Holland had his reputation, job, family life and health destroyed as a result. This is just one of many examples of the harm caused by this legislation.
Things, however, are about to change. Here’s a snippet of Mistress Magpie Corvid’s article in the New Statesman:
“In a letter to the head of the Crown Prosecution Service, Holland’s solicitors have claimed that even five years after its enactment, the law is so unclear and poorly understood – including by police, prosecutors and solicitors – that it too easily traps the innocent. Assisted by a specialist legal team and advised by the sexual freedom campaigning group Backlash, the former defendant has called on CPS head Allison Saunders to review the implementation of Section 63; if no such review is forthcoming, the law will be challenged via judicial review… In the challenge, Holland’s legal team, advised by Backlash, emphasise the Act’s violations of human rights. With the concept of “extreme” pornography poorly defined, and without reliable guidance from CPS to prosecutors, individuals find it difficult to determine what is and isn’t legal. Perhaps, this is why a law which experts predicted would get less than 30 cases a year has had over 5,000 convictions since its inception. It’s impossible to know how many people have pleaded guilty to possession of images that were not actually unlawful.”
Read the full New Statesman article here.
Learn more about Backlash here.
Read a blog on the case by Obscenity Lawyer here.
Read an article for Politics.co.uk by Jane Fae here.
Read the Independent article here.