Ever been tempted to look at porn on the internet? After all, pornography is viewed
by 35.9 % of UK internet users.
It's unlikely many of these are more than casual sauce-surfers, idling away a few moments of spare time over their lunchtime pot noodle. Certainly - or rather, hopefully - very few, fuelled by a cyber-fix, would develop a
thirst for violence or even murder. Unfortunately, it did in the case of Vincent Tabak. And yet his predilection for hard-core and violent pornography - including images of women being held by the neck saying choke me - was kept from the
jury in the Jo Yeates murder case.
An outrage since in my mind this was a scorching piece of evidence which directly played to the mindset of the accused. Without it, the Crown just about limped home with a conviction after the jury deliberated for two days
before returning a 10 - 2 majority. A very close call for the Crown.
It's time to smash this disgraceful contradiction by carving the legal position in statute.
In my view, anyone watching internet porn should know that if they subsequently become a defendant or witness in criminal proceedings, their cyber spectating could be open to questioning in court, if relevant to the charge.
Every day minds are polluted by the toxic trash being pedalled on the web. Yet the law seems to protect a violent killer tanked up on gruesome internet footage whilst exposing an innocent witness for his lamentable sexual interest.
At the moment a judge has a discretion to make this call. It's not enough. If he errs on the side of caution, suppresses evidence arbitrarily and gets it wrong, a vicious murderer could walk free. The scales of justice
between the probative and the prejudicial need to be rebalanced. The law needs to stand as a serious deterrent.
There are 755 million porn-heavy pages on the web, generating £ 60billion a year in filth-soaked revenue. And nearly 36% of the population are looking at it. One of them could be you. Would
you take a peek if you knew your secret wasn't safe?