Feeds

Scotland bans smut. What smut? Won't say

Filth-lovers won't know what the law is until they break it

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

The Scottish legal authorities have no time for criminals who – unsportingly – try to change their behaviour in order to avoid committing criminal acts and ending up in court.

That is the strange conclusion that follows from a reply we received last week from the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, which is responsible for the prosecution of crime in Scotland. Following queries from our readers, we put a series of questions over the soon-to-be-commenced Scottish extreme porn law. We asked whether the Crown Office intended issuing guidelines, as has happened south of the border, to enable those unclear over the precise scope of the law to delete any images that might get them in trouble.

A spokesman told us: "We do not publicly disclose our prosecution policy in relation to specific offences as to do so may allow offenders to adapt or restrict their behaviour to conduct which falls short of our prosecution threshold."

They added that any such information would also be exempt from any attempt to tease it out by using Freedom of Information legislation.

Jennie Kermode, a Glasgow-based campaigner and writer for film review site Eye for Film told us: "The problem with the Crown Office's position in this instance is that, with the best will in the world, people cannot be expected to adhere to a law they do not understand. In the case of a crime like murder, it's pretty simple – don't kill people."

She added: "In this case, what the law says is that people may possess some images but not others; how are they to know which ones are okay?

"This kind of law has a chilling effect on activity not actually considered criminal, much as the infamous Section 2A (clause 28 in England) restricted discussion of homosexuality far beyond its original mandate due to its lack of clarity. Such intentional obfuscation goes against the spirit of our legal system."

The Scottish extreme porn law is not yet in effect. It was passed by the Scottish Parliament, as s42 of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 and is similar in most respects to the English version of that law, banning possession of pictures depicting extreme violent sexual activity with humans (and any sex at all with animals). However, it goes a step further, adding any depiction of "rape or other non-consensual penetrative sexual activity" to the list of categories a jury will have to ponder over.

As the Crown Office pointed out: the precise date on which a law is commenced is a matter for the Scottish Government.

We also asked why it had ignored calls by campaigners for this law to be referred to the UK Supreme Court voluntarily, in order to ensure it did not breach human rights. The Office declined to answer this directly, suggesting instead it was up to the courts to decide on such matters. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.