Our criminal law solicitors see numerous offences that fall under the indecent images umbrella, but what exactly does indecent mean?
The word indecent in the Oxford Dictionary states that indecent means:
Not conforming with generally accepted standards or behaviour, especially in relation to sexual matters
The law suggests that whether or not an image is indecent falls to the tribunal in fact. In layman’s terms, this means either the Magistrates (in a Magistrates Court trial) or the jury (in a Crown Court trial) have to decide.
In the case of R-v-Stamford, the defendant was convicted of counts relating to sending indecent articles by post contrary to the Post Office Act 1953. He tried to appeal with the aid of his criminal solicitor on the basis that the Judge refused him permission to introduce witnesses at the trial to tell the jury that they didn’t find the articles to be indecent.
The Court determined that how the recipient felt when viewing any indecent material was inconsequential and the question of indecency is a matter to be dealt with exclusively by the jury. This means that it is not a valid defence for you to say to the court “my friend who looked at the image didn’t find it to be indecent” or try and introduce an expert to provide an opinion on what is classed as indecent.
Although you may think that what each person feels is generally accepted standards or behaviour could differ from person to person, the case of Shaw vs Director of Public Prosecution states:
“Even if accepted public standards may to some extent vary from generation to generation, current standards are in the keeping of juries, who can be trusted to maintain the corporate good sense of the community and to discern attacks upon values that must be preserved”.
Again, in any criminal law solicitors terms, this confirms that the decision lies with the jury and they don’t need assistance from witnesses or experts to determine what would be considered as indecent.
Whilst expert evidence cannot be used to tell the jury that something is not indecent we have previously been able to instruct an expert to liaise with the prosecution and persuade the prosecution that an image was not indecent. This meant that the matter then never went before the jury and the client was acquitted.
If you have been charged with indecent images and feel you have a defence then our indecent images solicitors will go through the matter in detail to ensure you are probably defended when there is a valid defence.
If you are seeking assistance, call us today on 01623 397200.