Prosecuting the Possession of Extreme Pornography: A Misunderstood and Misused Law

Criminal Law Review, p. 400, 2013

6 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2014

See all articles by Erika Rackley

Erika Rackley

Durham University - Law School

Clare McGlynn

Durham Law School, Durham University

Date Written: September 20, 2013

Abstract

On 8th August 2012, Simon Walsh was acquitted of five counts of possessing extreme pornography. The case was not, of course, the first prosecution under the extreme pornography provisions contained in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 (CJIA). Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) figures indicate that there were 799 prosecutions in 2011. However, unlike many of the other prosecutions, Walsh’s case was the focus of extensive public debate. It was touted in the press as a ‘landmark’ case defining the boundaries of the extreme pornography provisions, in which ‘common sense prevailed’ through a ‘sensible jury verdict’. There are two particular features of this case which meant that it garnered such attention. First, Simon Walsh was a high profile defendant. At the time of his arrest he was a barrister, politician, and magistrate, as well as (according to newspaper reports) a close aide of the London Mayor, Boris Johnson. Second, his trial was live-tweeted by Walsh’s solicitor, Myles Jackman and by PhD student Alex Dymock to over 8,000 followers. Notwithstanding this publicity, R v Walsh is unreported. Accordingly, while this article draws on the public tweets and press reports, it is recognised that neither are authoritative sources of information and that it is important to treat both with great caution. Nonetheless, and with these caveats in mind, the Walsh case provides an opportunity to revisit what continues to be a misunderstood and, in this case, mis-used, law.

Keywords: pornography, extreme pornography, Walsh, cultural harm, BDSM

JEL Classification: K14

Suggested Citation

Rackley, Erika and McGlynn, Clare M. S., Prosecuting the Possession of Extreme Pornography: A Misunderstood and Misused Law (September 20, 2013). Criminal Law Review, p. 400, 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2457135

Erika Rackley

Durham University - Law School ( email )

50 North Bailey
Palatine Centre
Durham, County Durham DH1 3ET
United Kingdom

Clare M. S. McGlynn (Contact Author)

Durham Law School, Durham University ( email )

Durham University
Palatine Centre
Durham, County Durham DH1 3LE
United Kingdom
0191 334 2800 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.dur.ac.uk/law/staff/stafflist/?id=429

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
279
Abstract Views
1,330
rank
109,980
PlumX Metrics