SAY NO TO THE SEX POLICE

SUPPORT COUNTDOWN ON SPANNER

THE SEX POLICE POUNCE

In 1990, as a result of one of the biggest and most expensive police operations ever, 15 gay and bisexual men were convicted of "assault" charges and given prison sentences of up to 4 1/2 years for engaging in SM sex.

The convictions were upheld by Lord Lane, at the appeal court, and on a 3:2 majority verdict at the appeal to the House of Lords despite the fact that:

All the men consented fully to all the activities concerned. No one received permanent injuries or needed medical attention. All the activities took place in private and the police received no complaints.

Three of the original defendants have taken the British Government to the European Court over the claim that their convictions breached the European Convention on Human Rights. In January 1995, the European Commission for Human Rights ruled that there was a case to answer. The case will go forward to the European Court of Human Rights.

Countdown on Spanner, and friends and supporters throughout the world, have raised thousands of pounds to fund this fight. We need to continue raising funds to ensure the best legal representation in this last legal defence of our rights. Funds raised are administered by "The Spanner Trust" (full details of trustees and trust objectives available on request), a trust fund dedicated to fighting the legal persecution of SM sex.

THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE

The courts' continual denial of the importance of consent is the most disturbing aspect of the case.

At the appeal, Lord Lane ruled that "the question of consent was immaterial" in cases of "assault" concerning the "satisfaction of a sadomasochistic libido". The notion that we have no right to choose what to do with our own bodies will be familiar to abortion rights campaigners, rape victims, and children subjected to corporal punishment against their will.

The "Spanner" case may be the first time this reasoning has extended to consenting adult sadomasochists, but the logic remains the same. According to the judges, we have no right to personal autonomy. Our bodies belong to the state, or to husbands, or to fathers, or to some other authority. Therefore consent, or the lack of it, is immaterial!

LAW OR LUNACY?

The denial of the Spanner defendants rights to choose what to do with their own bodies has led to a series of ludicrous laws.

The judgements mean that body piercings for decoration are quite legal, but for the "satisfaction of a sadomasochistic libido" are illegal. In practice this means that you are permitted to get your body pierced if you experience only pain. If you also experience pleasure, however, a serious criminal assault has taken place!

The Law Lords' ruling in the Spanner judgement, together with recent test cases, has confirmed that it is legal for adults to beat children in their care for the purpose of "lawful correction or chastisement" whilst the same activity between consenting adults is a criminal assault.

Despite Lord Lane's assertion that consent is "immaterial" in cases concerning SM, several of the men were charged with "aiding and abetting" assaults on themselves! How did these men aid and abet the assaults? Erm... well... presumably by consenting to them. Consent, it seems, is only "immaterial" when it suits the courts!

The courts and police claim to be trying to protect society from violence and deviation. These legal absurdities expose the fact that the Spanner case is not about "assault" at all, but about sex.

STANDING UP TO THE SEX POLICE

Countdown on Spanner was formed in August 1992 to support the Spanner defendants and campaign for SM rights.Countdown on Spanner is a mixed-sexuality campaign of sadomasochists and their supporters.

The term sadomasochism covers a wide variety of activities and desires, but Countdown on Spanner uses the following working definition:
SM is obtaining pleasure from a power exchange and/or pain in consensual sex play or sexual fantasy.
SM sex is, by definition, consensual. Non-consensual sex is an abuse of power and is therefore sexual violence, not SM sex.
There are no predetermined roles in SM sex. Power relations are defined by choice.
The object of SM is mutual pleasure, not violence or cruelty.

Countdown on Spanner needs the support of people of all sexes and sexualities who believe in the validity of sexual diversity and in informed consent as the basis of all sexual activity.

Countdown on Spanner meets at 7.30pm on the last Sunday of the month, at Central Station.

For more information about Countdown on Spanner and its activities send an = SAE to:
Countdown on Spanner, c/o Central Station, 37 Wharfdale Road, London N1 9SE

PLEASE GIVE A DONATION

STANDING ORDER MANDATE

Donations to Countdown on Spanner will go towards raising the 100,000 pounds needed to fight the case for legalising SM in the European Court for Human Rights.

Please donate! You can send us a cheque, or to set up a standing order send this form to: Countdown on Spanner, c/o Central Station, 37 Wharfdale Road, London N1 9SE. We will forward it to your bank Cheque & Postal Order donations can also be sent to Central Station, made payable to "Countdown"

To (Bank)
........................................................................... ..............................................................
(Branch Address)


..................................................................................

..................................................................................

..................................................................................


Re Account No (Your A/C No.)

.......................................................................................................

Please pay ........................... on the ........... of each month to Countdown on Spanner.

This payment is to continue until I cancel or amend it.

Countdown on Spanner
Account Number 50197170
Sort Code 08-90-80

This mandate cancels any previous standing order to this account.

Signed
........................................................................... ....................................................................
Name (Caps)
........................................................................... ..........................................................
Date
........................................................................... .......................................................................
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT

Countdown on Spanner e-mail spanner@honour.demon.co.uk snail mail c/o Central Station, 37 Wharfdale Road, London N1 9SE.

Back to Spanner Home Page