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Repeal of The Dangerous Pictures Act

Comment 10th July 2010

The Dangerous Pictures Act makes it illegal to possess any pornographic "extreme image". Pornographic is defined as "if it appears to have been produced solely or principally for the purpose of sexual arousal" and "extreme image" an image that depicts "an act that threatens or appears to threaten a persons life; an act that results or appears to result in a serious injury to a person's anus, breasts or genitals; an act which involves or appears to involve sexual interference with a human corpse; a person performing or appearing to perform an act of intercourse or oral sex with an animal, where any such act, person or animal depicted in the image is or appears to be real.  A guilty conviction could land a defendant with a 3 year prison sentence.

The problem with the act is it is far too subjective and runs the risk of wasting police time, imprisoning harmless people and undermining the value of the Sexual Offenders Register. The controversial laws were bought into force with virtually no debate in the houses of parliament and the argument for them rested heavily on the case of  Jane Longhurst, who was murdered by Graham Couts on March 14, 2003.  Couts  was found to have been compulsively accessing "extreme image" websites such as Club Dead and Rape Action but had told his GP he had an obsession with "asphyxiation" three years before the murder had taken place.

Although there may be a case for controlling "extreme images", an independent body would be far more reliable in researching the threat posed and recommending appropriate action.

Why does this matter?

The act is far too over reaching and endangers incriminating otherwise decent law abiding citizens.


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