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Partner acted for man charged under Obscene Publications Act
Who? Nigel Richardson, 53, senior crime partner at London firm Hodge Jones & Allen.
Why is he in the news? As a solicitor-advocate he successfully defended a client charged under the Obscene Publications Act 1959. The defendant, Michael Peacock, 52, of Brixton, London, runs a gay website selling DVDs of male fisting, urination and bondage, domination and sado-masochism.
The jury at Southwark Crown Court watched a selection of the DVDs and was asked to decide whether they were likely to ‘deprave and corrupt’ viewers. It cleared Peacock of all charges.
The Crown Prosecution Service said it was satisfied that there was sufficient evidence to indicate a realistic prospect of conviction, and that it was in the public interest to prosecute.
It added: ‘We respect the jury’s decision and stress that the fact a jury has acquitted someone does not mean that the guidance is incorrect.’
Thoughts on the case: ‘We had to persuade the members of the jury that the fact the material they were watching was not to their taste did not make it illegal. The prosecution’s case came down to the proposition that if you are not like everyone else, then you are abnormal and if you are abnormal then that is sick and wrong.’
Route to the case: ‘Mr Peacock was referred to me by one of my former clients, a gay male escort whom I represented some time ago.’
Why become a lawyer? ‘Criminal law combines intellectual challenge with the ability to help the underdog.’
Career high: ‘My first success in the Court of Appeal as an advocate.’
Career low: ‘As a criminal lawyer, I don’t have low points.’