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Extreme Pr0n - One Year On

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Whether this will remain the case in 2010 is still to be seen.

When the legislation was debated in the Lords, Baroness Miller expressed some concern that it would be used by Police Forces to get people who they could not get under other legislation. On the whole, this fear would appear not to have materialised.

There are two possible exceptions to this. First, the use of the law to chase up illicit sellers of dodgy DVDs – if substantiated – is a use of the law that was not foreseen by the legislators. Distributing obscene/extreme DVDs is an offence under the Obscene Publications Act. However, it is likely to be easier to obtain a conviction on a possession charge, and some police forces may choose to go this route.

The second exception, which has still to play out to a conclusion in a court of law, relates to the Frosties Tiger case. The defendant – the first, as far as we are aware, to plead not guilty – was charged on two counts. The first was thrown out after it was revealed that the police had not passed on to the CPS the soundtrack of the Tiger clip, which clearly delineated the clip as "not realistic".

A spokesman for North Wales police spoke to El Reg yesterday and stressed that the officers involved had acted in good faith and with an honest belief that the clip was extreme porn, with or without the soundtrack.

The second extreme porn charge will be heard in March – and following that, it is likely that a wider debate will open up on police actions in this case.

On the whole, therefore, the worst fears have not been realised. On the other hand, once a principle is breached, government has a habit of returning to ask for more – and so it has been with the principle of possession. Last year, government legislated on possession again, this time making it an offence to possess a cartoon that depicted illicit acts with children.

Concerns remain that as each "loophole" gets plugged, government is all too ready to move on to the next, widening the net of censorship further and further. ®

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