05 July 2007

Violent Pornography, a Conviction and a New Bill

Graham Coutts was yesterday convicted of the murder of Brighton schoolteacher Jane Longhurst for the second time, after his previous trial conviction was quashed. The details of the case are fairly grisly, but unfortunately have to be recounted to put into context what I'm about to write: he strangled Ms Longhurst with a pair of tights and stored her body for three weeks and visited it nine time before burning it. Distressing, I know.

Her mother, Liz Longhurst, as I've noted before, has successfully campaigned for the criminalisation of the possession of violent pornographic images, as she believes that Graham Coutts' access to them caused the murder. The offence is contained in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill introduced to Parliament last week.

Whilst it was obviously right for Coutts to have been convicted, it would be so wrong for Parliament to pass this provision into law: on principle because people have the right to view whatever images they want, practically because the law will be very hard to enforce - at best, these images will only be discovered when a person's computer is searched in relation to another offence or if disproportionate resources are used to catch the people that possess the images. And, like I've said before, it's not the images that are the problem, it is the people who are viewing them and take them as an inspiration to kill - if they do so they are already unhinged.

See also:


Tristan said...


If a crime has been committed in the creation of the images then those who perpetrated the crime should be tried for the crime.
Anyone who then sells the image could be tried for benefiting from the proceeds of crime (although that puts newspapers in an interesting position since they blatantly do benefit from crime...)

To simply own an image, however distasteful we find it, should not be a crime - to be so is in the realm of thought crime

syferium said...
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