The following Corporate Crime practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
Simple possession of extreme pornography is an offence under section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 (CJIA 2008). This is more commonly charged than an offence under the Obscene Publications Act 1959 as the element of publication is not required and so it is easier to prove. The high profile acquittal of Simon Walsh during August 2012 demonstrated vividly the difficulties involved in defending oneself of this offence and the implications of having the details of one's private life examined in detail in court.
See Practice Note: Obscene publications.
Pornography differs from obscenity in that obscene material may deprave and corrupt, and it may be violent or morally repugnant, whereas the pornography offence requires the images to be sexual images of a gross or extreme nature. Images of extreme violence may be obscene but will not be pornography unless they have a sexual origin or purpose. The offence is designed to stop the increase of extreme material and it applies equally online and offline, and to moving and still images, however produced.
The possession of extreme pornography offence cuts across the rights of an individual to a private life but the offence was intended to protect those who are coerced through trafficking or drug addiction to participate in creating these images. The offence requires the consent of the Director of Public
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