Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/01/06/evidence_lost/

Disappearing filth leads to dropped charges in extreme smut case

Geordie cops mutter 'Doh', scratch heads

By Jane Fae Ozimek

Posted in Law, 6th January 2011 13:34 GMT

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". ®