Anyone can understand that creating illegal images and distributing them via a service like Whatsapp could get you in trouble with the police, especially if they happen to come under England’s controversial “extreme pornography” laws. However there’s some concern arising over a recent case where two men found to have received - though not solicited and in one case, deleted – “extreme pornography,” via WhatsApp, have now been given a two year conditional discharge and charged £500 for costs.
The two men, both in their 20s, claim to have been sent the porn (said to be bestiality in nature) for “shock value,” from what they describe as an unknown source. The judge however said that while he was convinced neither man solicited the content, they were still guilty of possessing “extreme pornography,” which covers pornography relating to necrophilia, physical harm and animals.
One man even deleted the footage from his phone, though was unaware WhatsApp had also saved it to his “camera roll.” While the judge accepted that neither man had drawn sexual gratification from the videos and hadn’t tried to distribute them, he still handed down what he described as a “lenient,” sentence.
Sex and Censorship, an anti-scare tactic campaign has released a statement on the charges, suggesting that this was the equivalent of convicting “someone of possessing an e-mail selling illegal viagra. There will be lots of truly innocent individuals caught up in these kind of charges.”
It speculated that since the videos in this instance were found on the men’s phones in an unrelated incident, that police could potentially look for pornography on people’s handsets in an effort to stifle political protest and that due to the vague nature of the extreme porn laws, it would be easy to find something that breaks them.
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KitGuru Says: Nobody here is about to defend bestiality, but what do you guys think about Sex and Censorship’s comments? Is it fair to hand down a sentence for receiving unsolicited, illegal imagery?