The Crown Prosecution Service has dropped its case against Darryn Walker, the civil servant who was facing trial under the Obscene Publications Act for writing a violent pornographic fantasy story about pop group Girls Aloud.
Darryn Walker was charged last year after posting a pornographic fantasy about Girls Aloud on a website. The story, entitled “Girls (Scream) Aloud”, described the kidnap, rape, mutilation and murder of the members of the group.
Most prosecutions brought under the Obscene Publications Act relate to images and video. The prosecution of Darryn Walker would have been a landmark test case for the freedom to publish pornographic writing online.
A statement from the Crown Prosecution Service said: “[T]he prosecution had received a number of expert reports, one of which cast doubt over the accessibility of the article to people searching the Internet and that it could only be found by those determined to find it. The prosecution was unable to provide sufficient evidence to contradict this and so took the decision there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction.”
“This prosecution should never have been brought in the first place,” said Jo Glanville, editor of Index on Censorship. “Since the landmark obscenity cases of the 60s and 70s, writers have been protected from such prosecutions and have remained free to explore the extremes of human behaviour. This case posed a serious threat to that freedom. In future, obscenity cases should be referred directly to the director of public prosecutions before any prosecution is triggered.”