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When is a photo, or a Manga image, illegal?

Most people would agree that images showing graphic violence or sexual assault could be considered distasteful.

But do you realise that these images are also illegal?

Imagine sending a ‘gross out’ image of someone having their penis chopped off to a friend who’s getting married as a joke. Would you consider that you’re breaking the law in doing so?

Because you would be.

That image, depicting serious harm to genitals, is an Illegal image – it’s Extreme Pornography. And it can carry a prison sentence!

Or what about when your mate gets an absolute strip torn off them at work – and you send a photo of a leg going up a bum.

Yep – that one’s illegal too.

Because in each image serious harm is depicted.

Forrest Williams recently successfully defended a case where images such as these were being considered. Part of our argument was that these were not created for sexual arousal – they were shock/horror images or humour – but not for sexual arousal.

In that case the client was able to go home from court, but not all are so lucky.

So what about cartoon images? They’re fine, right?


They can be considered illegal too.

The reality is that there is a large library, of easily available Images, commercially produced, manga or manga-type, anime cartoon images which depict images prohibited by English law. In fact the prosecutions for these type of images have even had their own sentencing guidelines set out in Case Law now!

Oliver and others [2003] 1 Cr. App. R. 28 identified the following five levels of seriousness:

(1) images depicting erotic posing with no sexual activity;

(2) sexual activity between children, or solo masturbation by a child;

(3) non-penetrative sexual activity between adults and children;

(4) penetrative sexual activity between children and adults, and

(5) sadism or bestiality.

So the fact that these are cartoons and that no children were harmed is not a defence to the possession of these images – and the courts have even convicted on hand drawn sketch images on what was deemed to be an “indecent cartoon” – because in so many of these images the characters portrayed are juveniles – they are under the age of 18. And Images depicting sexual acts involving minors are illegal – even when they are clearly not real.

If you are being investigated for possession of indecent images, or prohibited images, then give Forrest Williams a call on 01623 397200


You're in safe hands. let us take the lead from here

You're in safe hands

Let us take the lead from here

01623 397 200
  • Private Prosecution