Feeds

Girls Aloud obscenity trial delayed

Legal arms race holds things up

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
Reprieve for Weev: Court disowns AT&T hacker's conviction
Appeals court strikes down landmark sentence
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.