Advice for Criminal Obscenity Clients
Have you been accused of a criminal offence involving pornography?
I can provide you with sensitive but robust advice throughout this difficult process. Ranging from pre-charge advice designed to avoid you being arrested; to personally representing you in interview at any police station in the country; to protecting your interests at court with proactive advice and advocacy; or conducting a legal challenge for you, such as an appeal or challegning a miscarriage of justice.
As the only lawyer in the country specialising in obscenity law I can provide you with expert advice on:
- Section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 "extreme pornography" offences.
- Obscene Publications Act 1959 and 1964 "publication" offences.
- R v GS (2013) obscene "text" publication offences.
- Section 62 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 "prohibited images" (cartoon drawings) offences.
Advice throughout the Criminal Justice Process:
I can provide you with step-by-step advice and representation, throughout the Criminal Justice System.
I can represent you at no cost at the Police Station under the Criminal Defence Scheme; at Court under the Legal Aid scheme; or on a private client basis if you are in a position to pay contributions. You may also be able to change your representation to me, even if you are currently represented by another solicitor.
Advice at the Police Station
I have clocked up well over a thousand police station attendances; and was personally commended by a peer reviewer for my "tireless efforts in going the extra mile" in obtaining cautions for my clients.
Advocacy at Court
I am an experienced advocate, familiar with advising and representing clients from an Early First Hearing at the Magistrates' Court, through to Crown Court Trials and (if necessary) Sentencing and Appeal Hearings.
Litigation and Case Preparation
I was personally commended in open Court for my "competence, diligence and efficiency" in case preparation by His Honour Judge Gratwicke.
I personally oversee all my casework, including: taking instructions directly from my client; taking and drafting proofs of evidence and witness statements; briefing trusted barristers; obtaining reports from expert witness in forensic IT, medicine and psychiatry; viewing evidence and unused materials; corresponding with clients, barristers, experts, the police, court and prosecution; and drafting legal arguments.
Written Legal Argument
I draft all my own written arguments for submission in Court, including:
- Abuse of Process – Arguing that something is "so unfair and wrong that the court should not allow a prosecutor to proceed".
- Dismissal – Arguing that the prosecution evidence is so weak that there is no case to answer.
- Nullity – Arguing that the proceedings are invalid, as the prosecution have failed to comply with a statutory requirement.
I am experienced in advancing my clients' best interests in the face of adverse decisions through recourse to the process of judicial review. For example:
- Charging Decisions – Challenging the legal basis upon which police have charged clients with criminal offences.
- Bail Conditions – Challenging the legality of bail conditions imposed by the Police or the Courts.
- Court Decisions – Challenging judicial decisions over jurisdictional issues.
I am familiar with conducting appeals in the Crown Court and the Court of Appeal; as well as drafting submissions for clients to the Criminal Case Review Commission and the European Court of Human Rights.
My Landmark Obscenity Cases:
R v Anon  - #TwinkTrial
I managed to convince the CPS to offer no evidence in an allegedly indecent image case after proving that all the performers in question were over the age of 18, by obtaining their model release forms and passport photographs from the producers in the USA. This was a landmark obscenity case, since USC Title 2257 had never been tested in Europe before.
- "Is the CPS institutionally homophobic? Imagine if this happened to you" - Me in The Independent
- "Man wrongly charged in Crown Prosecution Service's 'homophobic witch-hunt'" - The Independent
R v Simon Walsh  - #PornTrial
I successfully represented barrister Simon Walsh at Trial for allegedly possessing extreme pornography (under s63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008). The defendant featured in a double page acquittal story in the Evening Standard, and appeared on Newsnight and I wrote a comment piece criticising the Prosecution in The Guardian.
- "Simon Walsh's and the State's right to intrude on individuals' sex lives" - Me in The Guardian
- "Simon Walsh: 'Profoundly damaging' false charges ruined my City Hall career" - Evening Standard.
R v Michael Peacock  - #ObscenityTrial
I successfully represented Michael Peacock in his prosecution under the Obscene Publications Act 1959 for allegedly publishing "obscene" articles; in the most significant obscenity prosecution in the Internet era.
- "The law is not suitable for a digital age. The state is still acting as a voyeur in the bedroom" - Me in The Guardian.
- "Not guilty verdict in DVD obscenity trial - Male escort accused of distributing obscene DVDs" - BBC News.
Whilst all three defendants were found Not Guilty their prosecutions raised significant questions regarding sexual privacy; freedom of sexual expression; and right to view consensual adult sexual depictions.
Other Obscenity Cases
I also represented these clients in landmark obscenity cases:
Andrew Holland in the "Tiger Porn" case where the prosecution discontinued the case - Click here;
Kevin Webster in an extreme pornography test case trial where he was found Not Guilty - Click here;
GS in the landmark Court of Appeal obscenity decision in the case of R v GS - Click here;
Other Satisfactory Resolutions
I also obtained the following satisfactory outcomes for clients:
- I obtained police cautions for clients who have been interviewed at the police station for possessing extreme pornography;
- I obtained a caution for a client with "prohibited images" (cartoon drawings) under the Coroners and Justice Act;
- I obtained a conditional discharge at the Magistrates’ Court for a client in possession of extreme pornography;
- I obtained a year’s custodial sentence for a client with “the biggest seizure” of pornography ever obtained by the UK Border Agency and Metropolitan Police;
- I obtained a suspended sentence for a sex-shop vendor publishing unlicensed “caning” pornography DVDs;
- I managed to persuade the police to take No Further Action against two separate clients who were in possession of self made “needle-porn” images.