Jan. 14th, 2011

major_clanger: Clangers (Royal Mail stamp) (Legal Clanger)
Remember this query? Well, I noticed that Chambers' library has a copy of Rook and Ward on Sexual Offences, the standard practitioner text on the subject. (A 'practitioner text' is a book, usually by experienced lawyers, that is respected enough that you can generally get away with citing it in court.) I looked up s.69 SOA 2003 and sure enough R&W says that "The offence cannot be committed if the animal is dead", so my understanding was right - necrophiliac bestiality isn't an offence.

However, in reading the relevant section I noticed that the authors comment on how the interpretation section of the SOA includes a provision at s.79(10) that in relation to an animal, references to the vagina or anus (which form part of the definition of the offence) include references to any similar part. As they go on to say, "It is not clear what lies behind this provision, i.e. what animal might be involved in [bestiality] that does not have a vagina or anus but has a "similar part".(fn22)"

I reproduce footnote 22 verbatim:

"There is an anecdote to the effect that a learned academic criminal lawyer, having pondered this provision for some time, telephoned the Home Office to ask what animal they had in mind. After mature deliberation, they called him back with the answer "a lobster". We have been unable to confirm the truth of this story."

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major_clanger: Clangers (Royal Mail stamp) (Default)
Simon Bradshaw

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