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Consensual BDSM activities should not be a criminal offence

3 Comments 18th May 2015

Under current English Law and Precedent, it is currently illegal to cause someone injury or leave marks which are more than "trifling and transitory" even when those marks are the result of BDSM activities between consenting adults.

This is another example of the Nanny State trying to interfere in the private affairs of citizens and telling them that they cannot do things "for their own good"

Why does this matter?

The current state of affairs came about as a result of the Operation Spanner case (R vs Laskey, Jaggard, Brown et al) where a group of consenting gay men were convicted of crimes such as “Aiding and abetting an assault on themselves” because the law said they were not allowed to engage in consensual BDSM activities.

This subsequently lead to the case of R vs Wilson where a woman’s doctor found that her husband had (with her permission) branded his initials on her buttocks yet Mr Wilson was convicted because the Judge ruled that, as with the Spanner case “Consent was not a defence”.

The Law Lords in the Court of Appeal, however, overturned this saying that Consensual activity between husband and wife in the privacy of the matrimonial home was not a proper matter for criminal investigation or criminal prosecution.

It therefore is not unreasonable to consider that this should equally apply to any other such consensual activity be it between unmarried couples, gay men or women etc in the privacy of their homes, however at present it it still possible for people to be prosecuted under this law.

The law on this needs to be clarified such that consenting adults need not fear the courts for engaging in BDSM activity.

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3 Responses to Consensual BDSM activities should not be a criminal offence

  1. Tara Msiska says:

    Great idea and a few centuries overdue. Especially now that 50 Shades is everywhere and nobody knows it’s a crime because it’s normal and we all love doing it and also it’s in a popular book. (Although I hate that book).

  2. Rob says:

    The consensual activity in Wilson was quite narrowly defined as the branding, and the judge made the point that it could be considered as a form of tattooing (which is legal)

    I do agree with your main point, but I think that you do have to differentiate between Brown and Wilson.

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