Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Andrew D. Murray has published "The Reclassification of Extreme Pornographic Images," at 72 Modern Law Review 73 (2009). Here is the abstract.
Legal controls over the importation and supply of pornographic imagery promulgated nearly half a century ago in the Obscene Publications Acts have proven to be inadequate to deal with the challenge of the internet age. With pornographic imagery more readily accessible in the UK than at any time in our history, legislators have been faced with the challenge of stemming the tide. One particular problem has been the ready accessibility of extreme images which mix sex and violence or which portray necrophilia or bestiality. This article examines the Government's attempt to control the availability of such material through s.63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, which criminalises possession of such images. It begins by examining the consultation process and concludes that an underlying public policy objective was the root of the new offence despite the lack of a clear mandate for such a policy. The article then examines whether this weakness in the foundations for the proposed new offence caused the proposal to be substantially amended during the Committee Stage of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill: to the extent that the final version of s.63 substantially fails to meet the original public policy objective. The article concludes by asking whether s.63 may have unintended consequences in that it fails to criminalise some of the more extreme examples of violent pornography while criminalising consensual BDSM images, and questions whether s.63 will be enforceable in any meaningful way.