Disappearing filth leads to dropped charges in extreme smut case
Geordie cops mutter 'Doh', scratch heads
The stumbling progress of extreme porn case law continues with Newcastle magistrates dropping a charge of possessing a single image of extreme porn – because local police and prosecution appear to have lost the evidence.
Not only is this embarrassing, but anyone out and about in the Newcastle area who happens across the dodgy material is strongly advised not to pick it up and hand it in: possession is a strict liability offence – and there is no guarantee that the hander-in would not themselves be prosecuted.
A spokeswoman for the CPS told us: "When we made the original decision [to charge], the image was provided to us on disc. The defence requested details of where the image was on the computer and when the computer was checked, the image was no longer there. In light of that, we felt we could no longer go ahead with the case."
For further information, they advised us to speak to Northumbria Police, who re-assuringly told us: "Every effort will be made to ensure something like this doesn't happen again in future". ®
Come on, Coalition...
... you've had plenty of time, there were enough responses to your Freedom Bill consultation objecting to this stupid law , so get your bloody fingers out and get rid it before we see more cases like this one
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A MAN who downloaded staged images of sexual violence against women has gone on trial under new laws banning "extreme pornography."
In one of the first cases of its kind in the country, Kevin Webster is accused of having "grossly offensive or disgusting" pictures, even though they are "fakes".
Darron Whitehead, prosecuting, told jurors [...] "We know the images were fake. The question is whether it is realistic or portrayed in that way.
"The intentions of the persons within those images are irrelevant. It is what is depicted in those images which is material."
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WTF? We know they're fake, but because they *LOOK* realistic, we're going to prosecute him anyway!
Ah, I see!
"When we made the original decision [to charge], the image was provided to us on disc. The defence requested details of where the image was on the computer and when the computer was checked, the image was no longer there. In light of that, we felt we could no longer go ahead with the case."
The old "Cut & Paste" rather than "Copy & Paste" mistake I'll wager.
Hmmmm. DOESN'T ADD UP.
Something smells in this story. We are not privy to the full story.
Standard *proper* forensic analysis of a PC starts with the PC being powered *down* and the hard drive physically removed, and cloned. The original is then stored, and never accessed again. All work is undertaken on clones attached to other computers. This insulates the investigator from any chance that the boot-up process is compromised. It also means that the defence can be given an exact copy of what the investigators worked on.
It's been this way for *years*. So it's hard to believe the forensic team managed to mess up here.
However it's easier to believe that a budget concious, IT-illiterate (and possible tech-hating) police officer decided to get cheap forensic "analysis", and is now paying the price.
 Repeated contact with many policemen over many years has shown me that your average officer has a luddite mentatilty, and is *deeply* suspicious of anyone who "knows science". It you ever stopped by plod, never reveal you have any great technical knowledge.