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17.11.14

First imprisonment for revenge porn

21-year-old Luke King is understood to be the first person in the UK to be imprisoned for an offence relating to 'revenge porn'.  Mr King was prosecuted under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 for continuously threatening and then subsequently posting explicit photographs of his ex-partner on the popular messaging app, ‘WhatsApp’.  

Mr King was sentenced to 12 weeks' imprisonment by District Judge Andrew Davison at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court.  DJ Davison described his actions as "pernicious" and designed to cause "maximum humiliation".  He added, "You should be thoroughly ashamed of this offence...I regard this as despicable and a significant breach of trust."

The sentence follows the recent announcement by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling that the government will bring in legislation to make ‘revenge porn’ a criminal offence (see our post here).  Mr King was able to be prosecuted under existing laws as his posting of the images was part of a 'course of conduct' which amounted to harassment.  After ignoring warnings from the Police, Mr King changed his ‘profile picture’ on the messaging app to an intimate photograph which has originally been sent to him by his ex-lover during their relationship.  The images were described as “private explicit images” and in a statement prepared by the victim for the court said that the actions “disgusted me and really upset [her].”

The victim acknowledged that she initially sent the images to the Defendant however, purely intended the images to be for “his eyes only.”

Peter Shergill of the East Midlands Crown Prosecution Service issued the below statement:-

“This kind of malicious use of intimate material online is a vindictive crime that leaves victims humiliated and devastated.  Prosecutors are now following guidance issued in October this year that clarifies how we can use existing legislation to prosecute perpetrators of these intrusive offences.  In this instance, because the Defendant had threatened his victim and posted multiple images of her on social media, a charge of harassment has been bought…  This is the first case of its kind in Derbyshire since the new guidelines came into effect and is a sharp reminder that these offences will be taken seriously and the victim now has the reassurance of a restraining order that will prevent any further contact…”

Click here to read how Brett Wilson LLP can assist victims of revenge porn.


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Articles are intended as an introduction to the topic and do not constitute legal advice.


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