Some good news: the country has hopefully moved one step closer to offering victims of sexual assault and revenge porn justice, as a decision made in January, that anybody who films or photographs another person naked, without their permission, is breaking the law, has been upheld after a failed attempt at appeal.
The ruling was made after a 39-year-old man, Tony Richards, was charged with filming two sex workers without their consent, but arguing that he had permission to do so as they were in his private property.
A campaign to have this law upheld has been fronted by Emily Hunt, a woman who alleges that she was drugged and raped in a hotel room in 2015 (as reported by The Guardian), and has been campaigning against the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for five years. After hearing her case was being thrown out due to lack of evidence, it emerged that Emily's alleged attacker had also videoed her sleeping naked, so she attempted to pursue a case on the grounds of voyeurism.
The CPS have been criticised for failing to prosecute on these grounds, but said that they were urgently reviewing Emily's case and their decision to withhold it from a judicial review claim.
Emily tweeted about the UK Supreme Court's decision, saying, "We did it. WE DID IT. Holy crap. The UK Supreme Court upheld the decision from January: it is ILLEGAL to video/photograph someone naked without their permission in the UK even if you're in the same room. This is now the settled law in the UK. Oh my goodness: WE WON. #endvoyeurism". However, she later clarified that her tweet should have said Court of Appeals, rather than the UK Supreme Court, who have not been involved in her case.
We did it. WE DID IT. Holy crap. The UK Supreme Court upheld the decision from January: it is ILLEGAL to video/photograph someone naked without their permission in the UK even if you're in the same room. This is now the settled law in the UK. Oh my goodness: WE WON. #endvoyeurism— Emily Hunt (@emilyinpublic) March 25, 2020
Apparently there is a legal nuance that was lost on me here: the Court of Appeals denied the request to take it to the Supreme Court, so the judgement from January stands. So, the Supreme Court will not be considering whether to overturn it - so it is upheld. #NotALawyer— Emily Hunt (@emilyinpublic) March 26, 2020
She also tweeted saying she hoped the CPS would now "finally do the right thing and charge my attacker", in light of the new ruling.
The CPS spokesperson told Cosmopolitan: “What constitutes a “private act” for the purposes of the offence of voyeurism had never been conclusively defined by a higher court until earlier this year. The CPS does not make or decide the law; that is the remit of Parliament and the Courts respectively. The point of law has now been clarified by the Court of Appeal and the CPS are conducting a fresh review of the decision not to bring charges in the case involving Emily Hunt.”
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