26/10/2007

Nan Goldin photo – 'not porn' shock

In one of the least surprising outcomes of a CPS consideration of merits of prosecution since, oh let’s say the cash for honours flasco, ‘Klara and Edda bellydancing’ has been decided to be ‘not indecent‘.

So, a photo previously ‘investigated’ for indecency in 2001 and found not indecent then, that has repeatedly been published in the UK, and that was to be exhibited in a contemporary art gallery has required a 6 week investigation to be ‘cleared’. Stunning work.

Perhaps it took 6 weeks because the prosecutors had apparently to address the utterly metaphysical dilemma of whether ‘standards of propriety’ had changed since 2001. Is there no minimum period for the re-consideration of standards of propriety? Could it conceivably be a month by month or week by week task? What if there is a long trial? Could standards of propriety have changed by the end of the trial? And if so would the CPS be under a duty to disclose the change in standards?

However, the CPS did give deliver the understatement of the week:

Even if the photograph was now considered to be indecent, a defendant would be able to raise a legitimate defence, given that the photograph was distributed for the purposes of display in a contemporary art gallery after having been deemed not to be indecent by the earlier investigation.

That much was clear from the beginning, so what the hell was everybody wasting their time for? And the great unanswered question, why did the idiots at the Baltic call in the noted cultural critics of the Northumbria Police for their views in the first place?

A farce in a teacup, frankly.

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.

1 Comment

  1. Caroline-Christa Bernard

    Thank You ! I was working on iconography of Nan Goldin at Yvon Lambert Galerie, Paris. Caroline-Christa Bernard

    Reply

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