Friday, November 16, 2007

masturbation is a sexcrime

The bike-fucker is found guilty:

Robert Stewart, 51, admitted a sexually aggravated breach of the peace by conducting himself in a disorderly manner and simulating sex. Sheriff Colin Miller also placed Stewart on the Sex Offenders Register for three years.

Mr Stewart was caught in the act with his bicycle by cleaners in his bedroom at the Aberley House Hostel in Ayr.

Gail Davidson, prosecuting, told Ayr Sheriff Court: "They knocked on the door several times and there was no reply.
"They used a master key to unlock the door and they then observed the accused wearing only a white t-shirt, naked from the waist down. "The accused was holding the bike and moving his hips back and forth as if to simulate sex."

Like most people, my first reaction was one of astonished amusement that anyone would have sex with a bike. But this swiftly gave way to a greater incredulity at the way the law was framed. Does this mean if I unlock a door to your house, come in and catch you having a wank then you too can be arrested, convicted and put on the Sex Offenders Register?

Or is it the use of an inanimate object? In which case, anyone who has a vibrator should take care to properly barricade themselves into their bedrooms if they want to avoid arrest.

It's reminiscent of the Spanner Trial in the early 1990s. The state spent £3m prosecuting a group of sixteen gay men under the Offences Against The Person Act 1861 for having S&M sex. It had all happened in private, it was all consensual, nobody had complained of any injuries, or of anything else for that matter.

The judge ruled that consent was not a defence, therefore the men had assaulted one another and they were found guilty.

I've yet to hear of any police raids on boxing matches or prosecutions of tattooists.

The men at the Spanner Trial received sentences of up to four and a half years. Lives were ruined. The Court of Appeal, the House of Lords and the European Court of Human Rights upheld the convictions.

Somehow I thought those days had gone. But no. Indeed, there's The Spanner Trust - named after the trial - which is still campaigning to defend S&M practitioners and get consensual S&M made fully legal. They report that there have been several successful prosecutions for consensual S&M sex since. It could, and probably will, happen again.

In Robert Stewart's case there's no consent issue at all because there was nobody else involved. So I've a further wave of incredulity for his solicitor, Gerry Tierney.

What paltry effort does it take to successfully defend someone who was having sex by themselves, in their own locked bedroom, the sight of which offended people who walked in uninvited?

What kind of uninterested disregard for Stewart is going on here to let him get convicted? Another report says that in court

Tierney described his client as a "sad little man"

How completely awful as a human being, unfit for his chosen profession, damaging to his clientele and in need of finding another job - preferably cleaning Glastonbury toilets with his bare hands and tongue - is this man?


Anonymous said...


This story is weird on so many levels. One of my main questions is exactly what use is the sex-offenders register if you can get put on it for having a wank in your own room with the door locked?

Paul said...

This appears to have been the result of a technicality. The guy pleaded guilty, so the sherriff had to follow certain guidelines. He had to find him guilty of the charges, and becasue of the sexual content, he had to place him on the sex offenders register.

Your comments about the defending solicitor are even more pertinant, though, unless the guy truly is some kind of masochist, and refused despite the heartfelt appeals of his solicitor, to plead not guilty.

Trooper Thompson said...

Right on the money. A ridiculous state of affairs.

reason said...

Isn't the real point that the law should be changed.

Me I'm old fashioned, I believe in the rule of the law. I also believe in a vibrant and responsive democracy to define the law.

merrick said...

Reason, absolutely the law should be changed. but the thing is, if a law is immoral, why should it be obeyed?

Legality and morality are not the same thing.

Around the world, every set of statutes permits things that are immoral and prohibits things that are moral.

Legislation is made by the wealthy and powerful to protect their own interests. Thanks to outside pressure, their interests are forced to respond a little to social needs.

But even with the more vibrant and responsive democracy in place, the legislation will always chronologically follow the morality. It will always lag behind. How are we to highlight a case if nobody speaks up, if there are no injustices brought to light?

Are you seriously contending that nobody should have had gay sex before 1967?

That nobody should be using cannabis or other drugs, even when they're doing no harm to anyone, not even themselves?

that you oppose the actions of suffragettes, the American Civil Rights movement, the numerous anti-colonial liberation movements of the 20th century?

That you support the legal right of people to hold an arms fair in central London and equally support the incarceration of those who block the access roads in protest?

that you support the entirely legal rounding up of Jews and mass execution of Jews, communists, disabled people and others by the Nazis and equally supporting the entirely legal execution of anti-Nazi resistance fighters?

To have a blanket support of the law is to have faith in the infallibly moral disposition of those who make laws. It's a faith that reality mocks.