The evidence is mounting. Is the CPS institutionally homophobic?

Imagine if this were to happen to you or someone that you loved

Share

Accusations regarding child abuse images are some of the worst that an individual can face. The injustice is this case in compounded by the fact that we irrefutably proved to the prosecution, many months ago, that all the performers in the images in question were over the age of 18.

Thus this was legitimate adult pornography. No offences had been committed. Yet, perversely, this intrusive, misguided and illiberal prosecution was allowed to continue until the eve of a jury trial. Just imagine the potential impact that such an accusation could have on someone’s life, career and relationships.

My client is a noted professional in his chosen field and a law-abiding citizen who had never been in trouble with the law before. In 2011, he attended a work-related conference with residential accommodation and internet access. While in the privacy of his accommodation, he accessed legitimate adult pornography. After he checked out, the next resident complained to the authorities.

My client was eventually arrested and interviewed by police under caution, where he gave a full interview. He stated that, as a gay man, he regularly subscribed to legitimate adult gay websites, including the site in questions, which specialised in “twink” pornography.

According to Wikipedia, the word twink “is a gay slang term describing a young or young-looking man with a slender, ectomorph build, little or no body hair, and no facial hair”. Note that this definition states that a twink is a man, and also that the word twink is an everyday phrase in gay culture.

It is not a term denoting a covert attempt to look for indecent images of children. In other words, twink pornography is the homosexual equivalent of heterosexual “just legal” pornography, where all the performers are provably over the age of 18.  

Throughout these aborted proceedings, we repeatedly stated that all the performers in question were over the age of 18. Despite this, the prosecution has always maintained that it was a matter for a jury to decide the age of the performers.  However, we were able to prove how old the performers were. In spite of this the police and prosecution consistently failed to make further inquiries regarding the source and context of the images.

In June, our IT expert Paul Vella contacted the website directly. It confirmed it complied with USC Title 2257 legislation, which requires adult websites to keep records verifying a performer’s age against their passport details, as well as keeping signed “model release forms”.

It supplied us with all these details for all the performers on the entire website. We presented these details to the prosecution immediately.  It was possible to compare the passport photos of the performers in question with their pictures on the website.

Unfortunately, the prosecution in this case refused meaningfully to engage with the evidence we supplied. As a final resort, we complained to Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer QC’s office. We failed to receive the reply we were promised.

Ultimately, we were fully prepared to go to trial to present the overwhelming evidence of my client’s innocence. Yet, this behaviour from the prosecuting authorities raises significant civil liberties issues regarding the state’s right to intrude on the freedoms of an individual; proportional response; indiscriminate bureaucracy; and the spectre of homophobia.

Having also represented Michael Peacock in his “obscenity” trial and Simon Walsh in his “porn” trial, it is with extreme regret that I have begun to form the view that the Crown Prosecution Service suffers from institutional homophobia.

This investigative failure by police, in conjunction with the prosecution’s failure to review its own evidence in the face of irrefutable evidence not only seems to amounts to an abuse of the court process, but, as the prosecution appeared baseless, there is the question as to whether it was malicious.

So, imagine if this were to happen to you or someone that you loved? It is almost impossible to convey the true devastation that such a misconceived prosecution can wreak on a defendant’s life. What would you do if you were accused of accessing indecent images of children and stood to lose your career, professional and social standing, yet you knew you hadn’t done anything wrong?

Myles Jackman of Hodge Jones & Allen LLP is the Law Society Junior Lawyer of the Year

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: Outgunned by a lack of military knowledge

Guy Keleny
Ukip leader Nigel Farage in Tiny Tim’s tea shop while canvassing in Rochester this week  

General Election 2015: What on earth happened to Ukip?

Matthew Norman
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions