14 October 1996: PRESS RELEASE
On Monday 21 October the European Court of Human Rights will hear the cases of Roland Jaggard, Anthony Brown and the late Colin Laskey, who were imprisoned under the assault law for private consensual sexual activity where no-one required medical attention. The English courts had ruled that consent was no defence to "assault" if the motive was "the satisfaction of a sadomasochistic libido". The outcome of the hearing will determine in effect whether consensual sadomasochism is legal in Britain.
Countdown on Spanner spokesperson Val Langmuir said today: "The legal team, led by Lord Anthony Lester, has put forward a detailed case that demonstrates that the Spanner convictions were unreasonable and an improper use of the courts. We just hope that the European Court will uphold our right to a private life.
"We consider that the Spanner case was a huge waste of taxpayers' money and police time, and a gross invasion of privacy. In the face of the AIDS epidemic, S/M is increasingly popular as a way for consenting adults to enjoy safer sex. If we lose the appeal, the police will have a mandate to squander more resources in the harassment of couples who practise S/M as part of their sexual relationships. Wouldn't their time be better spent catching real criminals?"
Countdown on Spanner founder Kellan Farshea said: "It is clear from recent court judgments and updates to prosecution guidelines that the Spanner case is a gross miscarriage of justice and shows how out of touch the British judiciary are."