LA News Release: "Extreme Porn" Acquittal a Victory for Freedom of Expression - but Where is Emma West?
Libertarian Alliance News Release
Contact Details: Dr Sean Gabb
07956 472 199, firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday the 10th August 2012
The Libertarian Alliance welcomes the acquittal of Simon Walsh on the charge of possessing "extreme pornography." It sees the acquittal as a victory for freedom of expression.
Simon Walsh, a barrister and former adviser to the Mayor of London, was charged with possessing images of acts between consenting adults. The law used was section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, which outlaws pornography depicting acts which would cause "serious harm to the anus, breast or genitals". On Thursday the 9th August 2012, the jury acquitted him on all counts
Speaking today, Dr Sean Gabb, Director of the Libertarian Alliance, made these points:
1. There should be no law against the creation and publishing of any image depicting acts between consenting adults. Doubtless, the more extreme the act, the more investigation there should be regarding the reality of consent. In this case, however, it was reasonably plain that the parties had consented and were enjoying themselves.
2. There should be no law against the mere possession of any image. Possession of images should be used as evidence of involvement in illegal acts. But laws against possession in itself are a licence for the police to fabricate evidence.
3. The acquittal of Mr Walsh should be seen as a victory for free expression and a vindication of our ancient system of trial by jury. However, the main target of censorship by the British State is no longer sexual expression but dissidence against political correctness. The Libertarian Alliance notes that Emma West, a white working class Londoner arrested in 2011 and charged with "hate crimes," has still not been brought to trial. There have been repeated and ill-explained delays, and there is reason to believe that the authorities are hoping to wear her down by delay into pleading guilty. They are frightened that, as with Mr Walsh, their oppressive laws against freedom of expression will not bear scrutiny by a jury of twelve ordinary people.
4. Emma West is as much a victim of state oppression as Mr Walsh. In her case, indeed, the process has become the punishment. The Libertarian Alliance calls on all those individuals and groups who provided moral support for Mr Walsh to give the same support to Miss West. We cannot make a principled defence of freedom of expression if we support only those of whose expression we approve. Either we support Miss West in the same was as we supported Mr Walsh, or we do not really believe in freedom of expression.
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