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If the application of this legal principle remains restricted to instances where fantasy is focused on child abuse, it remains a theoretical impediment to freedom of speech, but one about which few are likely to go to the wall.The danger, as some may now suspect, is that the principle will, inevitably, be widened out - with the result that discussing sexual fantasy online may become increasingly perilous for those who wish to do so.In the light of this ruling, GS, who had previously been defending against all counts, changed his plea to guilty.Back at Maidstone Crown Court in July 2012, before Judge Philip St John-Stevens, the court accepted his plea, dropped the indecent image charge – and sentence will be delivered on 7 September.The decision has been broadly welcomed by CEOP, the UK organisation tasked with policing the online world for child abuse: "This is a landmark case [and] a good opportunity from a law enforcement point of view.It opens up the possibility of more people being prosecuted for offences against children." So what difference does this make?Verdict: The more you think about it, the less sense Down makes.
The Obscene Publications Act celebrates its 53rd birthday this year.
The idea that one could be criminalised for possession of an image of an act that was itself lawful to carry out first emerged in respect of child abuse law – when it became a criminal offence to possess a picture of a 16- or 17-year-old engaged in sexual activity – and was then extended significantly with legislation on extreme porn.