Consent to injury in sex 'should be legal'
Wednesday 23 February 1994
The Law Commission report contradicts a law lords' ruling last March which rejected an appeal by five homosexual men who were jailed for consenting ritual activities, including genital torture.
The lords decided that consent to such practices was no defence to charges of wounding or assault causing actual bodily harm. The Law Commission believes current legislation is too strict. Except in special circumstances, such as during sport, consent is no defence to cases of deliberate injury.
The lords' landmark ruling followed the conviction at the Old Bailey in 1990 of 16 men involved in a nationwide ring of sado-masochists. The jury, in what became known as the 'spanner' trial, heard that members of the group had cut each other's genitals with surgical scalpels, sandpapered scrotums and pushed fishing hooks into penises.
The Court of Appeal later reduced their sentences, which ranged up to four and half years, but upheld their convictions. Five of the men have taken their cases to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
The Law Commission's proposals are published today in a consultation document, Consent and Offences Against the Person. Two possible reforms are suggested. First, altering the rules to allow people to consent to activities that caused injury but not 'serious injury'. Juries would decide what constituted 'serious'.
Second, to change the range of consensual activities involving actual bodily harm that are exempt from the law. These currently include horseplay, circus exhibitions, tattooing and ear piercing, and sports. Possible additions are ritual circumcision, flagellation and religious mortification; the exclusion of the vague phrase 'horseplay' is suggested.
The commission also proposes clarifying the laws involving criminal assault during sports. It suggests that intentional infliction of injury during a match should be a criminal act, as should the reckless infliction of injury.
The Law Commission said: 'We believe that there is no need for the current rules on consent to be so strict - we favour a change.'
- 2 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 3 Russian officials ban yoga because it's too much like a religious cult
- 4 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 5 Ginger Pride festival to take place next summer, organisers say 'time of bullying gingers is over'
Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
People are American flagging their Facebook profile pictures in response to those rainbow flagging them
Ginger Pride festival to take place next summer, organisers say 'time of bullying gingers is over'
Historic meeting between Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox head 'getting closer'
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Pentagon accuses Russia of 'playing with fire' over nuclear threats towards Nato
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS
Tunisia beach attack: How can British Muslims respond to the latest outrages?
£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...
£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...
£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...