Repeal Sections 62 – 68 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009

The Act created the somewhat misleadingly titled offence of Possession of Prohibited Images of Children.

 

The offence is misleadingly titled as unlike the offence under the Protection of Children Act 1978, Possession of an Indecent Photograph of Children (and Pseudo-photographs), Section 62 does not require a child, indeed it does not require a human being at all, the offence covers imaginary "children" (being characters under the age of 18 or appearing to be so) , imaginary "persons" and for good measure, "imaginary animals".

 

While the Protection of Children Act 1978 rightly sought to punish those who make and possess images of the sexual abuse of children, the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 seeks to punish expression, it specifically criminalises that which is nothing more than the imagination set down on paper, canvas or bytes.

 

In board terms it is fundemantally important the the limits on individual freedom in a free society are set where an identifiable harm is occassioned or likely to be occassioned, this law does not do that.

 

Reference: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2009/25/contents

Why is this idea important?

The Act created the somewhat misleadingly titled offence of Possession of Prohibited Images of Children.

 

The offence is misleadingly titled as unlike the offence under the Protection of Children Act 1978, Possession of an Indecent Photograph of Children (and Pseudo-photographs), Section 62 does not require a child, indeed it does not require a human being at all, the offence covers imaginary "children" (being characters under the age of 18 or appearing to be so) , imaginary "persons" and for good measure, "imaginary animals".

 

While the Protection of Children Act 1978 rightly sought to punish those who make and possess images of the sexual abuse of children, the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 seeks to punish expression, it specifically criminalises that which is nothing more than the imagination set down on paper, canvas or bytes.

 

In board terms it is fundemantally important the the limits on individual freedom in a free society are set where an identifiable harm is occassioned or likely to be occassioned, this law does not do that.

 

Reference: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2009/25/contents

Repeal the age of consent for sex

I propose we repeal the sexual age of consent, replacing it with existing rape laws and a new system of 'relationship assessment', whereby all sex involving persons aged 13-18 will be illegal if deemed coercive or harmful by a court.

Why is this idea important?

I propose we repeal the sexual age of consent, replacing it with existing rape laws and a new system of 'relationship assessment', whereby all sex involving persons aged 13-18 will be illegal if deemed coercive or harmful by a court.

Repeal the Obscene Publications Act of 1959 and 1964

The Obscene Publications Acts prohibit the production of material likely to "deprave and corrupt" those likely to view it. This is applied to all films being processed by the BBFC, especially pornography.

I would also like to see Section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 repealed as it prohibits  'extreme pornography' such as BDSM, bestiality and simulated rape – all of which can be produced with the consent of the participants.

Why is this idea important?

The Obscene Publications Acts prohibit the production of material likely to "deprave and corrupt" those likely to view it. This is applied to all films being processed by the BBFC, especially pornography.

I would also like to see Section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 repealed as it prohibits  'extreme pornography' such as BDSM, bestiality and simulated rape – all of which can be produced with the consent of the participants.

Revert to the Protection of Children Act 1978

Over recent years we have seen the definition of 'child pornography' stretched beyond all credibility. The 1978 Protection of Children Act made the simple possession of indecent images illegal, where to be indecent the image had to:

1. Depict an actual person younger than the age of consent (then, and still, 16 years of age)

2. Depict them in a sexual context (that is, the material was produced for the purposes of arousal and is thus 'pornographic')

This was a simple and clear definition. You could easily know what was legal and what was not. Any person old enough to consent to sex could be photographed without danger of being caught by the Act. Simple child nudity of the sort that might appear in holiday photos or family photos of very young children was excluded.

The Act did precisely what it set out to do – protected children. By allowing police to arrest individuals for possession of actual child abuse images, it made it possible for them to target those who produced and supported the production of such material.

Since the 1978 Act, we have had a slew of amendments and new legislation that:

1. Created the notion of the pseudo-image. This is an image which is doctored in some way to make it appear to be an indecent image of a child when in fact it wasn't.

2. Criminialised material where the person depicted looks like (or could be interpreted to look like) a child. An image of a 20-something porn star dressed in a schoolgirl outfit and acting young could be considered child pornography depending on the context.

3. Changed the definition of 'child' to include persons over the age of consent but under 18, thus creating a legal anomaly where a person may legally consent to sex but cannot be photographed doing so, and retrospectively criminalising previously legal material including back-copies of newspapers and top-shelf magazines that featured 16 and 17-year old models.

4. Changed the interpretation of 'indecent' to include simple nudity or even 'provocative poses' by fully-clothed subjects, thus making innocent family pictures potential 'child pornography'.

5. Allowed material depicting imaginary characters – computer-generated or cartoon – who were (or might be construed to be) underage to be prosecuted as 'child pornography'.

6. Most recently, attempting to make written material simply describing any of the above equivalent to 'child pornography'.

Even the most cursory consideration of these changes will reveal that the clear intent of these changes to the law is to outlaw any material which pedophiles – or 'potential' pedophiles – might possibly find arousing. If you follow this route to its logical conclusion you ought to make any photograph or description of a child illegal, and lock all children away from public view lest someone become aroused at the sight of them.

This single-minded witch-hunting of the unseen but ever-threatening pedo-under-the-bed does not make children safer. Indeed, most of the changes have been made to permit the prosecution of individuals who have not harmed children at all. Its purpose is clear – it is thoughtcrime legislation, designed to satisy the baying calls of the gutter press and to keep CEOP and similar agencies in business.

It is now effectively impossible to know if a particular image is illegal or not. There is no safe standard. A picture of a fully-clothed adult may be child porn if they happen to be dressed and posed in a particular way. Offences being now largely based on 'context' mean that until it goes before a jury, you cannot be sure you're safe. People are being sent to jail as pedophiles for 'offences' which, only a few years ago, would have been laughable and which most certainly have not involved any actual children coming to harm.

My proposal is simple. Repeal and amend the various acts as necessary to return the definition of child pornography to that of the 1978 Protection of Children Act, and let the police get on with the business of actually protecting children and catching child abusers.

Why is this idea important?

Over recent years we have seen the definition of 'child pornography' stretched beyond all credibility. The 1978 Protection of Children Act made the simple possession of indecent images illegal, where to be indecent the image had to:

1. Depict an actual person younger than the age of consent (then, and still, 16 years of age)

2. Depict them in a sexual context (that is, the material was produced for the purposes of arousal and is thus 'pornographic')

This was a simple and clear definition. You could easily know what was legal and what was not. Any person old enough to consent to sex could be photographed without danger of being caught by the Act. Simple child nudity of the sort that might appear in holiday photos or family photos of very young children was excluded.

The Act did precisely what it set out to do – protected children. By allowing police to arrest individuals for possession of actual child abuse images, it made it possible for them to target those who produced and supported the production of such material.

Since the 1978 Act, we have had a slew of amendments and new legislation that:

1. Created the notion of the pseudo-image. This is an image which is doctored in some way to make it appear to be an indecent image of a child when in fact it wasn't.

2. Criminialised material where the person depicted looks like (or could be interpreted to look like) a child. An image of a 20-something porn star dressed in a schoolgirl outfit and acting young could be considered child pornography depending on the context.

3. Changed the definition of 'child' to include persons over the age of consent but under 18, thus creating a legal anomaly where a person may legally consent to sex but cannot be photographed doing so, and retrospectively criminalising previously legal material including back-copies of newspapers and top-shelf magazines that featured 16 and 17-year old models.

4. Changed the interpretation of 'indecent' to include simple nudity or even 'provocative poses' by fully-clothed subjects, thus making innocent family pictures potential 'child pornography'.

5. Allowed material depicting imaginary characters – computer-generated or cartoon – who were (or might be construed to be) underage to be prosecuted as 'child pornography'.

6. Most recently, attempting to make written material simply describing any of the above equivalent to 'child pornography'.

Even the most cursory consideration of these changes will reveal that the clear intent of these changes to the law is to outlaw any material which pedophiles – or 'potential' pedophiles – might possibly find arousing. If you follow this route to its logical conclusion you ought to make any photograph or description of a child illegal, and lock all children away from public view lest someone become aroused at the sight of them.

This single-minded witch-hunting of the unseen but ever-threatening pedo-under-the-bed does not make children safer. Indeed, most of the changes have been made to permit the prosecution of individuals who have not harmed children at all. Its purpose is clear – it is thoughtcrime legislation, designed to satisy the baying calls of the gutter press and to keep CEOP and similar agencies in business.

It is now effectively impossible to know if a particular image is illegal or not. There is no safe standard. A picture of a fully-clothed adult may be child porn if they happen to be dressed and posed in a particular way. Offences being now largely based on 'context' mean that until it goes before a jury, you cannot be sure you're safe. People are being sent to jail as pedophiles for 'offences' which, only a few years ago, would have been laughable and which most certainly have not involved any actual children coming to harm.

My proposal is simple. Repeal and amend the various acts as necessary to return the definition of child pornography to that of the 1978 Protection of Children Act, and let the police get on with the business of actually protecting children and catching child abusers.

Repeal Section 63, Criminal Justice Act

 

The Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill (2008) includes a Section 63 that prohibits a range of images, whether still or moving, possessed digitally or physically, as ‘extreme pornography’, exposing those found 'in possession' to  fines or up to five years in prison. 

 

Prohibited Images must satisfy four tests:

1. The image must be pornographic: ‘must reasonably be assumed to have been produced solely or mainly for the purpose of sexual arousal’.

2. The image portrays at least one of the following:

(a) an act which threatens a person’s life,

(b) an act which results, or is likely to result, in serious injury to a person’s anus, breasts or genitals,

(c) an act which involves sexual interference with a human corpse, or

(d) a person performing an act of intercourse or oral sex with an animal (whether dead or alive).

3. The portrayal must be ‘explicit and realistic’; a reasonable person must believe the actors (and animals) involved are real.

4. The image must be ‘grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise of an obscene character’.

Defences include having a legitimate reason for possessing images, accidental access of images, or the possessor having taken part in the images with other consenting adults. Complete works that have been classified by the BBFC are exempt (although extracts of classified films are not).

 

It seems to me (and many others) that this is thoroughly bad law. not only is it selective and arbitrary but also creates a new category of 'thought crime'. 

The law takes little account of whether the images are the product of actual dangerous and abusive activities, or merely realistic depictions or acted scenes. It also fails to take account of whether the images were produced consensually. What it does, therefore, is to make some perfectly legal acts into illegal ones when recorded or viewed. And it makes the viewer the criminal, rather than the producer. 

However, to muddy the waters even further, Section 66 of the Act provides a defence in relation to participation in consensual acts. In order for it to be present the following elements must be established:

– That the defendant directly participated in the act or any of the acts portrayed

– That the act or the acts did not involve the infliction of non-consensual harm on any person

– That acts involving the portrayal of a human corpse was not in fact a human corpse

Given that all pornography sites explicitly state that all acts depicted are both non-harming and consensual, it seems that the law fails even to address properly the anti-porn campaigners stated target.

The law is meant to be limited by an 'obscenity test' similar to that used for prosecuting publications. However, the history of obscenity laws (Lady Chatterley's Lover, the Oz Trial, etc) shows that obscenity is arbitrary. Therefore most people will not know whether they have broken the law before they have been prosecuted.

 

Why is this idea important?

 

The Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill (2008) includes a Section 63 that prohibits a range of images, whether still or moving, possessed digitally or physically, as ‘extreme pornography’, exposing those found 'in possession' to  fines or up to five years in prison. 

 

Prohibited Images must satisfy four tests:

1. The image must be pornographic: ‘must reasonably be assumed to have been produced solely or mainly for the purpose of sexual arousal’.

2. The image portrays at least one of the following:

(a) an act which threatens a person’s life,

(b) an act which results, or is likely to result, in serious injury to a person’s anus, breasts or genitals,

(c) an act which involves sexual interference with a human corpse, or

(d) a person performing an act of intercourse or oral sex with an animal (whether dead or alive).

3. The portrayal must be ‘explicit and realistic’; a reasonable person must believe the actors (and animals) involved are real.

4. The image must be ‘grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise of an obscene character’.

Defences include having a legitimate reason for possessing images, accidental access of images, or the possessor having taken part in the images with other consenting adults. Complete works that have been classified by the BBFC are exempt (although extracts of classified films are not).

 

It seems to me (and many others) that this is thoroughly bad law. not only is it selective and arbitrary but also creates a new category of 'thought crime'. 

The law takes little account of whether the images are the product of actual dangerous and abusive activities, or merely realistic depictions or acted scenes. It also fails to take account of whether the images were produced consensually. What it does, therefore, is to make some perfectly legal acts into illegal ones when recorded or viewed. And it makes the viewer the criminal, rather than the producer. 

However, to muddy the waters even further, Section 66 of the Act provides a defence in relation to participation in consensual acts. In order for it to be present the following elements must be established:

– That the defendant directly participated in the act or any of the acts portrayed

– That the act or the acts did not involve the infliction of non-consensual harm on any person

– That acts involving the portrayal of a human corpse was not in fact a human corpse

Given that all pornography sites explicitly state that all acts depicted are both non-harming and consensual, it seems that the law fails even to address properly the anti-porn campaigners stated target.

The law is meant to be limited by an 'obscenity test' similar to that used for prosecuting publications. However, the history of obscenity laws (Lady Chatterley's Lover, the Oz Trial, etc) shows that obscenity is arbitrary. Therefore most people will not know whether they have broken the law before they have been prosecuted.

 

Change Section 63 of Criminal Justice Act

In the current climate our sexual freedom is under attack as never before. Successive pieces of the previous Government's legislation have succeeded in criminalising the normal sexual activity of hundreds of thousands of adult citizens based on flimsy evidence and a general feeling of distaste.

It is widely agreed and accepted that consenting activities between adults are just that, and that it is not the business of the state to legislate on grounds of taste. The freedom to express oneself sexually without fear of prejudice is a basic civil liberty.

Why is this idea important?

In the current climate our sexual freedom is under attack as never before. Successive pieces of the previous Government's legislation have succeeded in criminalising the normal sexual activity of hundreds of thousands of adult citizens based on flimsy evidence and a general feeling of distaste.

It is widely agreed and accepted that consenting activities between adults are just that, and that it is not the business of the state to legislate on grounds of taste. The freedom to express oneself sexually without fear of prejudice is a basic civil liberty.

Section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008

This law is unessessary – we already have laws to prevent people committing acts of sexual violence towards others.  This law prevents people making or viewing a record of acts which occur between consenting adults. 

Why is this idea important?

This law is unessessary – we already have laws to prevent people committing acts of sexual violence towards others.  This law prevents people making or viewing a record of acts which occur between consenting adults.