The Prosecution of a man at Kingston Crown Court for the possession of images of consensual adult sexual acts under section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 that prohibits extreme pornography.
Extreme pornography is categorised in law as an images that is both pornographic (produced solely or principally for the purpose of sexual arousal) and ‘extreme’.
In order to constitute being ‘extreme’ the image has to be grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise of an obscene character as well as depict an act that falls within one of four categories:
(a) an act which threatens a person’s life,
(b) an act which results, or is likely to result, in serious injury to a person’s anus, breasts or genitals,
(c) an act which involves sexual interference with a human corpse, or
(d) a person performing an act of intercourse or oral sex with an animal (whether dead or alive).
The image also needs to contain a person or animal that a reasonable person would believe was real.
However, ‘extreme’ images are subjective, for example, some sexual practices are legal, such as forms of BDSM and fisting that may be deemed ‘extreme’ within a photograph viewed by another as they could be construed as ‘likely to result, in serious injury to a person’s anus, breasts or genitals’
The offence also only provides limited defences, for example, it is a defence if the ‘extreme’ image is from a classified film or if the image is held unknowingly or without deliberate action and it is also a defence if the Defendant was participating in a consensual act.
In 2009, the Crown Prosecution Service brought the ‘Tiger Porn’ Prosecution in relation to a video of what was alleged to be an extreme image involving a man having sex with a tiger.
It was only after the ‘extreme’ video was reviewed by an independent computer forensic expert that the Defence identified that the image had been computer generated and the tiger spoke the words ‘That beats the Frosties advert’ at the end of the footage. At that stage, the CPS accepted that someone who watched the video would not believe that the animal was real.
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