Feeds

Girls Aloud obscenity trial delayed

Legal arms race holds things up

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Readers expecting the long-awaited and landmark "Girls Aloud" obscenity trial to start last week in Newcastle will have to wait a little longer.

Last year Darryn Walker, a 35-year-old civil servant from South Shields was charged with publishing obscene material in respect of a story he posted up on the alt sex story repository (NSFW). This included descriptions of the brutal rape and subsequent murder of well-known girl group Girls Aloud.

A member of the public reported his story to the Internet Watch Foundation, who passed the matter on to the police. They, in turn, investigated and decided to recommend a prosecution be brought.

The significance of this case is that although a number of prosecutions are brought each year under the Obscene Publications Act 1959, the proportion of prosecutions that focus solely on written material is very small. As far as we are aware, the last time written material featured in court was in respect of Lord Horror, back in 1991: the last and possibly only time a charge of obscenity was upheld against purely written material was in the case of the Little Red Schoolbook in the early 1970s.

If a not guilty verdict is returned, matters will continue much as they are now: there exists a law that may be used against written obscenity, but it is virtually unused and unusable. On the other hand, if a guilty verdict is returned, everything will change: for starters, any would-be porn writer, based in the UK, and writing stories that attract tags such as "rape" or "paedophilia" (or even "necrophilia" or "bestiality") will be looking over their shoulders for some time to come.

UK regulation of the internet could extend much more broadly into the written word - some mainstream authors, particularly those who have made a career out of the violent end of the "crime procedural" novel, might also reconsider some of their more lurid descriptions.

The above is conjecture. However, a spokesman for Mr Walker’s solicitors, Kidd Spoor Taylor, explained to El Reg that at a directions hearing in January, the defendant made it known that given the seriousness of the case he would be represented by Queen’s Counsel – senior lawyers with, usually, at least ten years' experience.

Not wishing to be out-gunned, the Crown Prosecution Service also gave notice of its intention to field a QC. Such is the demand for our learned friends – who often earn in the region of £3,000 per day – the original trial date was put back.

If no other matters intervene, the trial is now set for five days in Newcastle Crown Court, starting on 29 June later this year. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed
Remastered so hard it would be difficult or impossible to master it again
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.